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COVID-19: The Basics

We've all got a role to play in the global response to 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Here are some of the basics around the actions we can take to prevent the onward transmission of the virus.


One of the highly effective strategies we have for limiting the spread of COVID-19 is physical distancing (aka social distancing). This means avoiding close contact with others and leaving at least 1.5 metres between you and other people. This also means avoiding group gatherings. In fact, restrictions on the number of people who can gather together are now in effect.

Thorne Harbour Health CEO, Simon Ruth, addressed our LGBTI and PLHIV communities about physical distancing. You can watch the video below or read the full transcript of the message here.

And if you are feeling unwell, it is incredibly important that you stay away from others at this time.

If you’re seriously unwell, contact your local GP. To be safe, call first. This allows them to ask you some questions and prepare an appropriate space to receive you. They may refer you directly to a service that can better look after you.

The Victorian Department of Health have released an online self-assessment tool for people concerned that they may have COVID-19 - click here to use the COVID-19 self-assessment tool.

If you believe you have been exposed to or have acquired COVID-19, you can call the Coronavirus hotline 1800 675 398 (24 hours).


Basic Hygiene is so important to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and a range of other diseases. This includes:

  • Avoid touching your mouth or face wherever possible.
  • Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing with a tissue or into a bent elbow (Throw away the tissue immediately, after use).
  • Frequently wash your hands – use soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time. Handwashing plays an important role in disease control, but so many people don't get it quite right. Check out this CDC clip to see if you're on top of it
  • And use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with over 60 per cent alcohol when you can't wash your hands.


Maintaining good general health will give your immune system the best chance at fighting off the virus if you get it. Maintaining a good sleep pattern, hygiene, diet, and exercise where possible are ways to keep healthy - and also improve mental health and wellbeing.


Roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine is currently underway. Find out more information here. The most recent annual flu vaccine is also being rolled out. The annual flu vaccine provides protection against various strains of influenza. The vaccine is recommended for everyone to avoid coinfection. In particular, the vaccine is strongly recommended for groups of people who are more vulnerable to COVID-19. Please note, you must wait two weeks between receiving the the COVID-19 vaccine and the annual flu vaccine.

Additionally, The Pneumococcal vaccine (Pneuomvax 13 or Prevenar 23) is recommended for all HIV-positive people at this time to protect against pneumonia.

For more information on the flu vaccine, head to the Australian Department of Health.


There is a lot of misinformation out there. Reliable information is important as we continue to respond to COVID-19. You can best stay up to date via the Victorian Department of Health website. It’s frequently updated with information and resources.

Check out the DHHS website

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) have released a sheet of ten useful tips for how you can reduce your risk of coronavirus.

Check out the DHHS resource

Our team on JOY 94.9's Well, Well, Well recently unpacked a lot of the myths surrounding COVID-19 as they spoke to the inaugural Director of the Doherty Institute and leading infectious diseases expert, Professor Sharon Lewin as well as Living Positive Victoria President Richard Keane.

Listen to Well, Well, Well's Coronavirus Episode


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