Social distancing Corona Virus (COVID-19)

Corona Virus COVID-19 Pandemic

What is social distancing?

Social distancing means we reduce the number of close physical and social contacts we have with one another.

When social distancing actions are combined with good personal hygiene measures the spread of a pandemic through the community can be slowed. This helps protect the most vulnerable members of the community and reduces the impact of the pandemic on essential, life-saving health services.

Social distancing is an effective measure, but it is recognised that it cannot be practised in all situations and the aim is to generally reduce potential for transmission.

While practising social distancing, people can travel to work (including public transport). For non-essential activities outside the workplace or attendance at schools, universities and childcare – social distancing includes:

  • avoiding crowds and mass gatherings where it is difficult to keep the appropriate distance away from others
  • avoiding small gatherings in enclosed spaces, for example family celebrations
  • attempting to keep a distance of 1.5 metres between themselves and other people where possible, for example when they are out and about in public place.
  • avoiding shaking hands, hugging, or kissing other people.
  • avoiding visiting vulnerable people, such as those in aged care facilities or hospitals, infants, or people with compromised immune systems due to illness or medical treatment.

Who should practice social distancing?

Everyone should practice social distancing, as it reduces the potential for transmission.

Is it safe for me to go to the gym?

No. On 23 March 2020 the Minister made Public Health Order that directs the closure of certain places of social gathering (Places Order), including gyms and other indoor recreation facilities.

Keeping fit remains important, visit Make Healthy Normal for workouts you can try at home.

Bulk-buying

Should I be bulk-buying items to prepare?

There is no need to bulk-buy products at supermarkets including toilet paper, paracetamol and canned food.

It is prudent for households to have a small stock of non-perishable groceries to cover the event that in the coming months the household has been asked to self-isolate for 14 days. However, it’s important to note the role of family and friends in supporting those in isolation and also to note that online grocery delivery services are now available in most areas.

Pets and animals

Can pets be infected with COVID-19?

While COVID-19 seems to have emerged from an animal source, it is now mainly spreading from person-to-person. There is no reason to think that any animals including pets in Australia might be a source of infection with this new virus. There have been no reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19 in Australia.

There is also no evidence that companion animals including pets can spread COVID-19. However, since animals can spread other diseases to people, it’s always a good idea to wash your hands after being around animals.

Can I be infected with COVID-19 from Australian bats?

At this stage, there is no evidence that bats (or any other animals) carry the COVID-19 virus in Australia. However, Australian bats can carry other serious infections, such as Australian bat lyssavirus and Hendra virus so they are best avoided. You should also avoid bats overseas.

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