Coronavirus (COVID-19) - what you need to know

Date: 10 March 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness caused by a virus. Symptoms range from a mild cough to pneumonia. Good hygiene can prevent infection. Most people recover easily.

The Australian Government is ensuring appropriate preparation and response plans for the Indian Ocean Territories (IOT). Please follow the health advice from the Australian Government Department of Health and Indian Ocean Territories Health Service, as outlined below.

Know the signs: Symptoms of respiratory illness

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sneezing
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Shortness of breath

Stop the spread: Preventing the spread of respiratory infection

  • Wash hands frequently: 15-20 seconds with soap and water or use alcohol hand rub
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze (sneeze into elbow pit)
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Keep at least one metre from anyone coughing or sneezing

If you get sick with a respiratory illness: What to do

  • Isolate yourself at home
  • Call your local clinic and tell them about your respiratory illness as you may need to see a health professional
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Regularly clean frequently touched surfaces like door handles, light switches, bathroom and kitchen areas
  • Avoid sharing things
  • If possible, use a surgical mask if you are in the same room as others

Further information: and Coronavirus health information line 1800 020 080