Coronavirus - General Information About the Virus

Information on the coronavirus

For the latest information from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) on the novel coronavirus please visit their website

The Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Victoria. It is important to remain aware of the signs and symptoms and be vigilant to ensure that the virus does not spread. Practicing good hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene will greatly assist in preventing and spreading of the disease.

Please read the following information, based on information provided by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Australian Government Department of Health.

What is the current situation in Australia?

Please refer to the Australian Government Department of Health for regular updates on the current situation in Australia.

For up to date travel advice please visit the Smart Traveller website

What are the symptoms of the novel coronavirus?

Many people who contract COVID–19 will suffer only mild symptoms. However early indications are that the elderly and people with pre-existing medical conditions are more at risk of experiencing severe symptoms. 

The most common symptoms reported include:

  • Fever
  • Breathing difficulties such as breathlessness
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue or tiredness

What can I do to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus?

The following steps are simple preventative measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Wash hands often with soap and running water, for at least 20 seconds. Dry with paper towel or hand dryer.
  • Try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow.
  • Isolate yourself at home if you feel sick. If you take medication ensure you have adequate supplies.
  • Phone your GP first if you need medical attention. They will tell you what to do.
  • Continue healthy habits: exercise, drink water, get plenty of sleep, and now is the time to quit smoking. Call the Quitline 137 848.
  • Buy an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with over 60 per cent alcohol.
  • Get the flu shot.

Is it safe to visit public places?

The situation may evolve so it's wise to keep updated via advice from DHHS

What should I do if I suspect I have the novel coronavirus?

This virus can cause an infection in people, including a severe respiratory illness. Symptoms include fever with a cough, sore throat or shortness of breath. Cases of this coronavirus have now been reported in some other Chinese provinces and several other countries.

Call the Department of Health and Human Service’s dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398 if you develop these symptoms. This hotline is serviced by Nurse-on-Call.

Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only.

Face Masks

 How to wear your mask safely

You can download an information sheet in the following languages:

Where do I get a Face Mask? 

If you would like to buy a reusable mask, there are some crafty people around Colac sitting at their sewing machines (keep an eye on local community FB pages to see where they can be bought).

If you want to buy disposable face masks, contact chemists and other retailers.

If you cannot afford to buy a face mask or make one, Colac Otway Shire has limited supplies of face masks to give to those in need – call the Colac Otway COVID Support Hotline on 5232 9440.

If you would like to make a reusable face mask visit the DHHS for a pattern and “how to” video, you can also download an instruction sheet here(PDF, 750KB).

You can download the instruction sheet in the following languages: