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Food, medicines and other essentials during COVID-19

8-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.

How can I get food and essential supplies?

It’s a good idea, where possible, to ask friends, family or neighbours — who are not self-isolating — to get essential supplies for you. They should drop items at your door but not come into your accommodation.

If you don't have anyone nearby who can help, you could order groceries online. The large supermarket chains, including Coles and Woolworths, have upgraded their online delivery service and prioritised people in isolation.

Some supermarkets may have special arrangements for older people. Please contact your local supermarket directly for more information. For more advice on grocery shopping, please visit the Council on the Ageing’s website at cota.org.au/covid19.

If you still need help, some states and territories offer emergency food packages and other assistance to vulnerable people who've been told to self-isolate. Visit your state or territory website for information.

Can I get my medicines delivered to my home?

The Australian Government’s temporary Home Medicines Service is no longer available.

If you require medicine while you are isolating at home, a family member or carer will have to collect your medicine for you.

Electronic prescriptions can be forwarded to the person collecting your medicine so the pharmacist can scan the prescription.

FIND A HEALTH SERVICE — The Service Finder can help you find doctors, pharmacies, hospitals and other health services.

Mental health and wellbeing support

Feelings of anxiety, distress and concern are normal — there are several steps you can take to look after your mental health.

Learn more here about managing your mental health and who you can reach out to for help.

Financial support

You may be able to get a payment from the Australian Government if you or your family are affected by COVID-19.

Information on how to access payments and support if you’re experiencing financial difficulty is available at Services Australia.

State and territory governments may also offer financial support.

Grief, loss and bereavement support

The Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement (ACGB) provides a free grief, loss and bereavement service on 1800 22 22 00.

Callers are directed to self-care resources, group counselling or one-to-one counselling sessions with a bereavement specialist via telehealth, video call or in person.

ACGB also offer:

  • a free My Grief App with information and advice on how to support others
  • support is also available in Arabic, Czech, Farsi, French, Italian, Japanese, Maltese, Sinhali, Tamil, Spanish and Yiddish
  • call through TIS National on 131 450
  • Auslan interpreters are also available

For urgent support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 for confidential counselling and referrals — available 24/7.

Domestic violence support

If you or someone you know is at immediate risk of harm, or if you have been threatened, physically hurt or sexually assaulted, call triple zero (000).

If you are currently self-isolating you can still leave your home if there is family violence or a risk of violence.

You can also contact support services in your state or territory:

There are a number of national phone support services you can contact:

  • 1800 RESPECT is the National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service. Call 1800 737 732 or visit 1800respect.org.au.
  • The Men's Referral Service is a family violence telephone counselling, information and referral service for men wanting to take responsibility for their violent behaviour. Call 1300 766 491 or visit ntv.org.au.
  • MensLine Australia provides support to men having relationship problems and men who commit, or experience, domestic violence. Call 1300 78 99 78 or visit mensline.org.au.
  • 1800 LGBTIQ is the WithRespect LGBTIQ+ service. It provides support to LGBTIQ+ people experiencing difficulties in their relationships, including family violence. Call 1800 542 847 or visit withrespect.org.au.
  • The National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline (1800 880 052) is a confidential service for reporting abuse and neglect of people with disability.
  • Run by the Red Cross, the Trafficked People Program supports victims of human trafficking, forced marriage, slavery and slavery-like practices. If you need help, call (03) 9345 1800 or email: national_stpp@redcross.org.au.

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

Last reviewed: August 2022


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