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How to avoid COVID-19

4-minute read

If you develop symptoms such as severe shortness of breath or chest pain, call triple zero (000) immediately. Tell the call handler and the paramedics on arrival if you have COVID-19.

Quick read and other languages

How to avoid catching COVID-19 including getting vaccinated, wearing masks and physical distancing. Also available in 15 languages.

Good hygiene

Practising good hygiene is one of the best ways to protect yourself from COVID-19. It is essential to keep your hands clean — especially outside your home — and to cover your cough or sneeze.

Good hygiene includes:

  • wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • cover your cough and sneeze, dispose of tissues and wash your hands immediately after
  • regularly clean and disinfect surfaces you use often, such as benchtops and door handles
  • avoid touching your face
Coronavirus COVID-19 - how to avoid infection
You can download this infographic in PDF format, or go here for a text version.

Wearing a mask

Wearing a face mask mask can help stop droplets from spreading when people talk, cough and sneeze, which reduces the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Learn more about how to wear a mask and which masks are best.

Getting vaccinated

COVID-19 vaccination stops people from becoming very sick if they catch COVID-19.

Vaccines train your immune system to quickly recognise and get rid of the bacteria or viruses that can cause serious illnesses. Vaccines that protect us against COVID-19 are designed to generate an immune response specific to the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines.

Physical distancing

Physical distancing is a term used to describe how you should keep your distance from people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Physical distancing helps reduce the risk of a virus being transmitted and includes:

  • avoiding crowds and mass gatherings where it is hard to keep a reasonable distance from others (about 1.5 metres)
  • avoiding small gatherings in enclosed spaces
  • keeping 1.5 metres between you and other people
  • not shaking hands, hugging or kissing
  • not visiting vulnerable people, such as those in aged care facilities or hospitals, babies or people with weakened immune systems

It's important that people stay in touch and continue to be social with their family and friends for their own mental health and wellbeing. Phone calls, video calls and social media can help you stay connected with loved ones.

RESTRICTIONS — Use the COVID-19 Restriction Checker to find out what you can and can't do in your state or territory.

Related topics

Preparing for COVID

Preparing for COVID

Use this checklist to prepare a kit that will help you manage your COVID-19 symptoms at home, should you become infected.

What to do if you test positive

What to do if you test positive

If you get COVID-19, it’s likely that your symptoms will be mild and you’ll be able to recover safely at home. Here's what to do next.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: February 2022

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