Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

The COVID-19 novel coronavirus is a new strain of coronavirus affecting humans.

Some coronaviruses can cause illness similar to the common cold and others can cause more serious diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

This novel coronavirus is still new and as such we are still learning more about it.

Signs and Symptoms: 

Symptoms reported in identified cases of COVID-19 novel coronavirus include:

Sore throatSore throat
Shortness of breathShortness of breath
Runny noseRunny nose
Vomiting or nauseaVomiting or nausea
Loss of smellLoss of tasteLoss of smell and/or taste

Other symptoms people may experience include muscle or joint pain, and loss of appetite.

Everyone who gets COVID-19 will experience it a little differently.

People who have extreme symptoms or side effects from the virus may take weeks or months to recover fully, while people with a mild illness may feel completely better within a week or two.

Symptoms can vary depending on each case.

If you have a sudden onset of any COVID-19 symptoms, you should contact your local doctor or call 13HEALTH (13 43 25 84).

People with suspected COVID-19 will be tested.

Read about novel coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms compared to cold or flu.

Who is most at risk

Based on what we know about coronaviruses, those most at risk of serious infection are:

  • people with compromised immune systems (such as people who have cancer)
  • elderly people
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (as they have higher rates of chronic illness)
  • people with chronic medical conditions
  • people in group residential settings
  • people in detention facilities

To help protect people most at risk, we have recommended limits on public gatherings and visits to vulnerable groups.


There is no specific treatment for COVID-19 infection. Antibiotics are not effective against viral infections. However, most of the symptoms can be treated with medical care.

Other resources: 

Help and assistance: 

For further information on COVID-19 novel coronavirus, contact 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84).

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