Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and remote communities
Information on how to protect yourself and your mob.
Australia is working hard to ensure we all have access to safe, effective and free COVID-19 vaccines, which will give us the protection to go about our everyday lives. The COVID-19 vaccines are being assessed carefully by independent clinical experts to ensure all potential vaccines meet Australia’s high safety and quality standards.
After vaccines are approved, they will be rolled out, going to those most in need of protection first. To keep up to date visit health.gov.au
Find out about the work of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Group on COVID-19.
Protect your mob and stop the spread
You can help stop the spread by:
- keeping your hands clean — wash your hands with soap and water (where possible) for at least 20 seconds. Do this after you cough or sneeze, go to the toilet, and before you make any food
- coughing or sneezing into the inside of your elbow, not your hands
- putting your tissues in the bin after you use them and washing your hands after
- not touching your face
- cleaning surfaces often, such as door handles, kitchen and bathroom benchtops
- not hugging or shaking hands with people
- keeping away from people and family if you are sick with a fever, cough or sore throat or are having trouble breathing — and seeking medical help.
Read more about how to protect yourself and others.
Read our advice on staying healthy during COVID-19 restrictions.
Keeping in touch with your community
Staying connected with family, friends and your community is important. Some ways you can do this are:
- calling people for a yarn on the phone
- talking about the community and checking if they are OK
- talking about the virus and how to stop the spread
- connecting with family and friends on social media
- sharing your tips on social media #KeepOurMobSafe.
People most at risk
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can be at higher risk in any public health emergency.
You are at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 if you:
- are 70 years of age or over
- have had an organ transplant and are on immune suppressive therapy
- have had a bone marrow transplant in the past 24 months
- are on immune suppressive therapy for graft versus host disease
- have blood cancer, like leukaemia, lymphoma or myelodysplastic syndrome (diagnosed in the past 5 years)
- are having chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
You are at moderate risk of severe illness from COVID-19 if you have:
- chronic renal (kidney) failure
- heart disease (coronary heart disease or failure)
- chronic lung disease (excludes mild or moderate asthma)
- a non-haematological cancer (diagnosed in the last 12 months)
- severe obesity with a BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2
- chronic liver disease
- some neurological conditions (stroke, dementia, other) (speak to your doctor about your risk)
- some chronic inflammatory conditions and treatments (speak to your doctor about your risk)
- other primary or acquired immunodeficiency (speak to your doctor about your risk)
- poorly controlled blood pressure (may increase risk – speak to your doctor).
See our advice for people at risk.
Why remote communities are at risk
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and people living in remote communities are at greater risk from COVID-19. This is because:
- there are often higher rates of other health issues in these communities
- it can be harder to access health care
- people in the community may be very mobile and travel often
- people often rely more on outreach services in remote places.
People who live in remote communities are a priority of the Australian Government and the COVID-19 National Emergency Response Plan. We all need to work together to keep people safe and stop the spread of the virus.
Where you can get help
Call your local Health Service, or ask someone you trust in the community to call, if you feel unwell.
National coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccine helpline
If you need information about COVID-19, COVID-19 vaccines or help with the COVIDSafe app, call the telephone number listed below. If you need assistance with booking a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, please note the call centre is unable to book appointments on your behalf.
National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation
The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) is the national authority on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care. See their website for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander–focused news, information, links and contacts.
National Indigenous Australians Agency
The National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) is committed to improving the lives of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Visit their website for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander–focused news, information, links and contacts.
Remote area restrictions
From Friday 10 July 2020, all designated areas have been withdrawn from these restrictions, meaning the Determination has been repealed and ceases to exist from this date.
The decision to lift the Determination has been informed by the Remote framework – conditions for easing remote are travel restrictions, which was announced by the Prime Minister on the 15 May 2020.
Some remote communities may still have local restrictions in place for who can enter and leave the community.
Resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
We’ve created specific resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and remote communities. Use these resources to help promote good health and stop the spread of the virus.
A collection of COVID-19 vaccines communication materials, including social media content, posters and videos, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations.
This community kit contains radio commercials, videos, posters and a range of other resources to help you share important messages about coronavirus with your community.
A collection of resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and remote communities, about coronavirus (COVID-19).
This document from the Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA) is for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It provides nationally consistent guidance on how communities can protect themselves against COVID-19 (coronavirus).
Learn more and connect
Download the official government apps to stay up to date.
The COVIDSafe app is a tool that helps identify people exposed to coronavirus (COVID-19). This helps us support and protect you, your friends and family. Please read the content on this page before downloading.
Stay up to date with official information and advice about the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. You can check your symptoms and get notified when urgent information and updates are published.
Join our COVID-19 WhatsApp channel to learn the latest on Australia's response to coronavirus (COVID-19). If you're already a WhatsApp user you can send a message to the channel to connect. If you don't have WhatsApp, download the app to join the channel.