The Department of Health is preparing for further cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Tasmania, and healthcare workers are on high alert for potential cases.

If you think you might have COVID-19 because of recent travel or contact with a confirmed case, phone your GP or the Tasmanian Public Health Hotline, 1800 671 738.Interpreter icon

Need an interpreter?

  • Phone the Tasmanian Interpreting Service (TIS) on 131 450 and tell them your language.
  • Tell the interpreter your name and that you’re calling the Tasmanian Department of Health 1800 671 738.

What you need to know

We all need to work together to protect people most at risk and slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

What we know

We are still learning about how this new virus spreads and the disease it causes. We know:

  • the virus causes respiratory disease that can spread from person to person
  • most people experience mild flu-like symptoms, including fever, cough, sore throat and fatigue
  • some people experience severe illness and, sadly, a small proportion die
  • older people and people with underlying medical conditions seem to be more at risk of severe illness
  • vaccine is not available.

How does the virus spread?

The virus most likely spreads through:

  • close contact with an infectious person
  • contact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze (if you are within 1.5 metres or two large steps of an infected person)
  • touching objects or surfaces (like doorknobs, sink taps and tables) that have cough or sneeze droplets from an infected person, and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms range from mild illness to pneumonia. Some people recover easily, others may get very sick very quickly. Symptoms include fever, flu-like symptoms such as coughing, sore throat and fatigue, or shortness of breath. People with severe illness may have difficulty breathing, which is a sign of pneumonia and requires immediate medical attention.

It can take up to 14 days for symptoms to show after a person has been infected.

What we’re doing

The Department of Health is working closely with national health authorities and local health services, including hospitals and GPs, to prepare for cases and identify and appropriately manage potential cases quickly. We are being guided by the Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus and extensive pandemic planning undertaken over recent years.

The Tasmanian Government has declared a State of Emergency and tougher border restrictions are in place for people coming into Tasmania. Read the directions made by the Director of Public Health under section 16 of the Public Health Act 1997.

What you can do

Stay informed. The Australian Government Department of Health website has detailed information and is being updated as the situation develops.

Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and warm, running water.

Reassure family and friends that, if they are well, they do not need to wear a facemask. Facemasks are generally for people who are sick. There is no reason to wear a facemask for protection against COVID-19 unless you are directly caring for people who are suspected cases.

Call for advice.  If you think you might have COVID-19 because of recent travel or contact with a confirmed case, phone your GP or the Tasmanian Public Health Hotline (1800 671 738) for advice. If you haven’t travelled or had contact with confirmed case, phone your doctor or healthdirect Australia (1800 022 222). Protect others around you by washing your hands and keeping your distance.

Where can I get more information?

For the latest advice, information and resources about coronavirus go to the Australian Government Department of Health website and follow the link from the homepage.

For general information about coronavirus, including the national response, call the National Coronavirus Information Line on 1800 020 080 (24 hours, 7 days). If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.

Information about the situation in Tasmania can be found:

Find out more  >

updated 27 March 2020 3:40 pm