If you believe you have been exposed to, or have Coronavirus, you should call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 for advice. The line operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The common symptoms of Coronavirus are:
- sore throat
- shortness of breath
If you are sick and think you might have Coronavirus, you can also check your symptoms using the Victorian Government's Self-Assessment tool.
If you have serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, call 000 for urgent medical help.
Head to https://www.australia.gov.au/ for the most current information about the Coronavirus and how it affects you.
You can also stay informed about the latest advice and news regarding Coronavirus by downloading the Coronavirus Australia government app, available on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and by joining the Australian Government’s official WhatsApp channel.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Below is a list of common questions and answers about Coronavirus, if your question is not answered here please reach out to me at [email protected] or call 03 9545 6211.
What should I do if I think I have Coronavirus?
Arrange for a coronavirus test, detailed in the next question. You should then take precautions:
- Wear a mask
- Stay at least 1.5 metres away from other people
- Cover your coughs or sneezes with your elbow
- Wash your hands frequently
How can I get tested for Coronavirus?
Call the Victorian Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398 or use their self-assessment tool here to assess your symptoms. You can get tested through any of the following means:
- Call your GP and ask for a coronavirus test
- Book a consult and test with a GP respiratory clinic
- Go directly to a Victorian hospital respiratory clinic or Community Health Centre respiratory clinic
- Go directly to a drive-through or walk-in testing site
More information about where you can get tested, including locations of pop-up testing sites, can be found here.
How does Coronavirus spread?
Coronavirus is spread through:
- Close contact with a person while they are infectious or in the 24 hours before their symptoms appeared
- Touching objects or surfaces (such as door handles or tables) contaminated from a cough or sneeze and then touching your mouth or face
What are the rules about social gatherings?
Social gatherings at home are no longer permitted. You are only permitted to have visitors in your home for caregiving or compassionate reasons. Visiting family and friends is also no longer permitted, you are only permitted to visit intimate partners. More information about changes to restrictions is available here.
What are the Stage 4 restrictions?
Due to a spike in new cases, the Victorian Government has introduced stage 4 restrictions, with stay at home orders. As before, there are only four reasons to leave your home:
- Work or study
- Shopping for essentials
Victorians will also be required to wear a face mask in public. Leaving your home without a mask could result in a fine.
As of Monday 2nd August, Victoria is also subject to a curfew, meaning Victorians must not leave their home between 9pm and 4am, except to travel to and from work, to receive urgent medical care or for compassionate reasons.
Under Stage 4, there are further restrictions on lifestyle, movement and work. Victorians are no longer permitted to travel more than 5km to shop for essential supplies or exercise, and must limit shopping trips to one member per household, per day.
More information on Stage 4 restrictions can be found here.
From Friday 8th August 11:59pm, new business restrictions will come into effect. For more information on business restrictions, visit the DHS website here.
Can I send my kids to school?
Under Stage 4, schools will move back to remote learning, meaning all students must study from home. Some schools will remain open for children of essential workers and special needs students.
More information about remote and flexible learning can be found here.
How can I help stop the spread of Coronavirus?
The most effective way to slow the spread is through social distancing and good hygiene. Try and limit contact with other people as much as possible and wash your hands frequently. Download the Government's COVIDSafe app (IOS and Android) to assist with contact tracing. If you are presenting symptoms, contact the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 020 080 for advice.
For more information, see the Government’s advice here: What is social distancing? and How do I maintain good hygiene? and fine more information on the COVIDSafe app here.
Can I still travel overseas?
If you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident, you are not allowed to travel overseas. If you are overseas currently, you will be permitted to come home but are subject to mandatory 14 day hotel quarantine.
For more information, see the Government’s updated advice on overseas travel restrictions here.
I'm in another state. Can I come back home to Victoria?
Yes, there are currently no restrictions on interstate travel to Victoria. Keep up to date with the Victorian Government updates here.
I have lost my job because of the Coronavirus shutdowns. How can I claim Centrelink benefits?
The Government has announced further assistance and jobseeker payments for those affected by the Coronavirus. You do not need to physically line up at Centrelink to make your claim for benefits if you have lost your job because of the Coronavirus. If you are affected by the Coronavirus, you can register your intention to claim a Centrelink payment, follow these steps.
See here more information for how to make a claim through Centrelink.
The Victorian Government is also looking to provide further assistance to displaced workers due to the Coronavirus. See more information about this here.
I'm a small business that has to shut down due to Coronavirus. What help can I receive?
The Government has announced temporary measures to provide relief for financially distressed businesses. For more information about the types of relief and whether it applies to you, see the Government’s breakdown here.
The Victorian Government also has some assistance to support small businesses impacted by Stage 4 restrictions. See further information about this and register your interest here.
As an employer, am I eligible for the JobKeeper payment?
The Australian Government has announced a new wage subsidy to try and keep Australians in jobs. Eligible employers can receive a payment of $1500 per fortnight for every employee for up to six months.
Employers are eligible for the subsidy if:
- your business has a turnover of less than $1 billion and turnover has fallen by more than 30%; or
- your business has a turnover of $1 billion or more and turnover has fallen by more than 50%
At the end of September, businesses will have to reassess their eligibility for JobKeeper. For more information on changes to JobKeeper, visit the ATO's website here.
As an employee, am I eligible for the JobKeeper payment?
Employees are eligible for the JobKeeper payment if you:
- are currently employed by an eligible employer (including if you were stood down or re-hired)
- were employed by your employer on 1 March 2020
- are employed as full-time, part-time or long-term casual (employed on a regular basis for longer than 12 months as at 1 March 2020)
- are at least 16 years old
- are an Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, a Protected Special Category Visa Holder, a non-protected Special Category Visa Holder who has been residing continually in Australia for 10 years or more, or a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder
- are not receiving a JobKeeper payment from another employer
More information about the JobKeeper payment is available here.
I'm a vulnerable person in self-quarantine. What assistance is available?
Victorians who need to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 may be eligible for support from the Victorian and Federal Governments.
The Victorian Government has introduced a support payment to Victorians who will lose income as a result of mandatory self-isolation. More information on Victorian Government's Test Isolation Payment can be found here, and the Worker's Support Payment can be found here.
The Federal Government has also introduced a Victoria specific Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment for those who will lose income due to self-isolation. More information on the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment can be found here.
If you are in urgent need and don’t have a support network who can help you, call the coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398. More information on emergency relief packages is available here.
I can no longer afford to pay rent. What can I do?
Evictions and rental increases will be put on hold for 6 months by the state government. Landlords and renters are encouraged to talk about short term agreements, with tax incentives for landlords that agree to rental agreements with tenants experiencing financial hardship.
Further rental assistance is available for renters facing hardship. More information is available here.