Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and remote communities

Information on how to protect yourself and your mob.

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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.

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.

Map of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and medical services

Use this interactive map to find an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Health Service near you.

National Coronavirus Helpline

Call this line if you are seeking information on coronavirus (COVID-19) or help with the COVIDSafe app. The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

View contact

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.

View contact

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.

View contact

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.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community kit

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.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and remote communities

A collection of resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and remote communities, about coronavirus (COVID-19).

CDNA National Guidance for remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities for 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 to communities can protect themselves against COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Artwork acknowledgement

Artwork by Luke Penrith - Let's Walk and Talk out Bush

We acknowledge artist Luke Penrith for the use of his artwork ‘Let's Walk and Talk out Bush’, which has been adapted for use in our materials.

Here is a description of the artwork:

Walking and talking to family while doing physical exercise is deadly for the emotional wellbeing of First Nation peoples.

Going out bush walking with mob can benefit communities socially, culturally and does wonders for your mental health.

The two coolamons show abundance of bushtucker picked while out bush.

The two boomerangs represents our Past and our Future.

The six U symbols at the bottom represents male and female leadership in our past, in our present, and our emerging health leaders

Women’s business and Men’s business is vital to our health - engaging in these ground in communities have health and cultural benefits.

Being active shows our children that it’s good to be outdoors learning culture and showing Yindyamarra (Respect) to Elders and ancestors while out bush

Luke Penrith
Proud Aboriginal man from
Brungle, my great grandmothers Country

Connected culturally to the Wiradjuri, Wotjoboluk, Yuin and Gumbaynggirr Aboriginal Nations

Learn more and connect

Download the official government apps to stay up to date.

COVIDSafe app

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.

Coronavirus Australia app

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.

Australian Government WhatsApp channel for COVID-19

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.

Last updated: 
22 September 2020

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