Safety and wellbeing during COVID-19

Discover how you reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection to yourself and the community, as well as look after the mental health and wellbeing of yourself and those around you.

Reducing the risk of infection

Continue to take actions to to yourself and the community including:

  • observing physical distancing by keeping 1.5 metres between yourself and others
  • practising good hygiene and washing your hands thoroughly regularly
  • limiting your time away from home and reducing the number of trips you make whenever possible
  • always wearing a face covering when you leave your home, unless you have a lawful exception
  • covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (if you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow)
  • staying home if you feel at all unwell.

All travellers returning from overseas to Victoria must be quarantined for 14 days.

If you are unwell:

  • self-isolate at home
  • do not go to public places
  • do not attend work, schools, universities or social gatherings
  • do not visit aged care facilities.

If you suspect you may have COVID-19, call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398. Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only.

Getting tested for COVID-19

Expanded testing for COVID-19 is available across Victoria.

Anyone who has any of the following symptoms, however mild, must stay home, seek advice and get tested:

  • fever
  • chills or sweats
  • breathing problems such as shortness of breath
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny nose
  • loss of sense of smell or taste.

In certain circumstances headache, muscle soreness, stuffy nose, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea may also be considered.

Feeling tired or fatigued is common during many illnesses, including COVID-19. If you are feeling tired AND have any of the above symptoms, you should seek advice about getting tested for COVID-19.

Go straight home after your test and self-isolate while you wait for the results.

Visit DHHS for advice and information on how and where to get tested, including pop-up testing sites operating at various locations across Victoria. View the DHHS testing map for all testing locations.

If you suspect you may have COVID-19, you can call the dedicated hotline 1800 675 398.

Refer to the DHHS website for the most up-to-date source of information on COVID-19 and advice on staying safe, including:

  • information about COVID-19 and how it is spread
  • what to do if you’re feeling unwell
  • how to reduce your risk of infection
  • advice on self-quarantine
  • coping with feelings of anxiety
  • resources for people with a disability and their carers.

For information in your language, including easy English, please see the DHHS translated COVID-19 resources.

Resources are also available for Aboriginal communities.

Face masks

The Victorian Government requires everyone to wear a face mask when leaving home, unless a lawful exception applies. A face covering can be either a face mask or a cloth mask and needs to cover both the nose and mouth.

On 27 September, the Victorian Government advised that face shields, bandanas and scarves no longer meet the test of effectively covering the nose and mouth.

When wearing a face mask you should still keep 1.5 metres apart from other people.

Wearing a face mask protects you and our community by providing an additional physical barrier to COVID-19 and helping to reduce community transmission.

So if you’re leaving home for one of the permitted reasons, please remember to wear a face covering. A fine of $200 may be issued to people who don’t do so (without a valid reason for exception).

Reasons for which you do not have to wear a face mask include medical reasons, for children under 12 years of age and those who have a professional reason not to such as teachers. However, you will still be expected to carry your face mask at all times to wear when you can.

You can also remove your face mask if you are communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication. You should maintain physical distancing of 1.5 metres during these interactions and if you need to cough or sneeze, do so into a tissue or your elbow. Resources and messaging that can be printed and carried by people who are Deaf or hard of hearing can be found at Deaf Victoria.

For more information, advice and a guide to making your own cloth mask, visit DHHS - Face coverings. There are also a number of factsheets available in Easy English and FAQs for people with disability and their support workers which explain when a face mask is required. 

Translated resources and interpreting services

Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) is available by calling 131 450 for support talking to a health provider or the Coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398.

There are a number of translated resources available online including:

Videos

North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network has created a COVID-19 public health message video in 18 languages. You can watch, download and share these videos by following the links on their website.

Multilingual app

MyAus COVID-19 is a multilingual mobile app co-developed by the Migration Council Australia for Australia’s CALD communities about COVID-19, its impact and available support. The app is free and available in 25 languages.

Talking to children

Children might find it difficult to understand what they are seeing online or on TV, or hearing from other people, so they can be particularly vulnerable to feelings of anxiety, stress and sadness. But having an open, supportive discussion with your children can help them understand, cope and even make a positive contribution for others.

Read the full UNICEF guide, Eight tips to help comfort and protect children, and the Emerging Minds guide on Communicating with your child about COVID-19.

Support for children with disability and families

Please see the Association for Children with Disability website for information about supporting children with disability and approved care arrangements.

Parenting support resources

For further parenting support resources, visit Raising Children’s COVID-19 family guide webpage which has a number of resources around supporting children and teens through COVID-19 and social isolation. There is also an article about making the new normal work while supporting children and teens.

The Department of Education website also provides useful information to support remote learning in Term 2. Parents and carers can access advice, tips and resources to help support their child’s continuity of learning from home.

Useful tips on staying safe online during the COVID-19 pandemic can also be found at eSafety Commissioner.

For new ideas to keep your children active, happy and learning at home during Stay At Home restrictions, visit our At-Home Activities page.

Mental health, wellbeing and support services

Listed below are some of the many mental health and wellbeing services and resources available for those impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

You can also find a list of mental health resources on the DHHS website.

Beyondblue

Beyondblue provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live.

Phone: 1300 224 636

They have also launched a new online platform, Be You which includes resources to help support mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Carer Gateway

Carer Gateway provides links to resources for carers during COVID-19, including for emergency respite care.

Phone: 1800 422 737

Conversation in Isolation

A group of Victoria-based health students started Conversation in Isolation to help support Australians who are at risk of loneliness and social isolation during the COVID-19 crisis. When you sign up, you're matched with a student volunteer to be your ongoing telephone supporter. They'll find a time that suits you, and call every so often to say hi and have a friendly chat.

Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Services

This is a difficult and uncertain time for many Victorians, and support is vital and available. For more information about managing stress and support options, call the Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Services

Phone: 1800 512 348

Disability Information Helpline

The Disability Information Helpline provides free, private and fact-checked information and referrals for people with disability who need help because of COVID-19.

The Helpline can help families, carers and support workers, too.

Phone: 1800 643 787

Griefline

Griefline is Australia's only dedicated grief helpline service that provides counselling support services free of charge to individuals and families.

Phone: 1300 845 745

Headspace

Headspace is a national youth mental health foundation dedicated to improving the wellbeing of young Australians.

Phone: 1800 650 890

Head to Health

The Government's Head to Health site provides Australians with trusted information, tips and resources to help support everyone's mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Healthy Mind - a new mental health resource

Healthy Mind is a new website designed to help people with Intellectual Disability (ID) to recognise and regulate their thoughts and feelings.

The Black Dog Institute worked with people who had lived experience with intellectual disabilities to ensure that the website is designed to suit the needs of its users.

Jewish Care Victoria

Victoria'a Jewish community can seek COVID-19 assistance and support by visiting Jewish Care or calling the helpline.

Phone: 03 8517 5555

Lifeline

Lifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.

Phone: 13 11 14

ReachOut

ReachOut has put together a list of 10 ways how you can take care of yourself and each other during this time.

RESPECT

If you or someone you know is experiencing family or domestic violence, visit Services Australia or phone 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732). If you are in immediate danger call Triple Zero (000).

Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre

safe steps is Victoria’s 24/7 family violence support service. If you or someone you know is experiencing family violence, for help and support, visit safesteps.org.au or call safe steps Family Violence Response Centre 24/7 on 1800 015 188.

Suicide Call Back Service

Suicide Call Back Service is a nationwide service that provides 24/7 telephone, video and online professional counselling to people who are affected by suicide.

Phone: 1300 659 467

Support Act Wellbeing Helpline

The Support Act wellbeing helpline is a free, confidential phone counselling service available 24/7 for anyone who works in the performing arts industry. Call to make an appointment, or request to speak to someone immediately about any aspect of your mental health and wellbeing.

Phone: 1800 959 500

Switchboard Victoria

Switchboard Victoria is a community based not for profit organisation that provides peer-based, volunteer-run support services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex people and their friends, families and allies.

Phone: 1800 184 527

Take a moment

Immerse yourself in the meditatively expressive vocals and physicality of Fog Theatre.

In this visually evocative video work made in collaboration with artist Kate Geck, SIGNATURE's intention is to "give power and energy to our friends, family and community, through our body, words and imagination."

Recognising and embracing the inherent value of each person, SIGNATURE messages the need for respectful and meaningful human connections, and the power of arts, creativity and collaboration.

Performances, artworks and voiceover by Fog Theatre.
Animations and film by Kate Geck.
Fog Theatre is supported by the City of Port Phillip.

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission

If you, or someone you know, has experienced discrimination or vilification for any reason, you can make a complaint to the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.

If you are experiencing anti-Asian racism, the Asian Australian Alliance has created an online reporting database specifically for coronavirus-related incidents of racism.

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