Health Alert:COVID-19

Feeling unwell?

The symptoms of COVID-19 can include:

  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Fever or chills
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Runny nose
  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath

Other reported symptoms of COVID-19 include: fatigue, muscle pain, joint pain, diarrhoea, nausea/vomiting and loss of appetite. Also be aware that COVID-19 can also occasionally causes unusual rashes and finger or toe swelling.

If you have any of these symptoms, even if they are mild, we recommend you get tested and self isolate till you get your results. For more information about testing read here or see the testing section below.

  • If you would like to speak with someone, call your GP or contact the 24-hour National Coronavirus hotline on 1800 020 080.
  • International students can also call the Medibank OSHC Health and Support Line on 1800 887 283.
  • Information for people with a disability can call: 1800643787.

For the latest information, hot spot areas and cases go to NSW Health. For more detailed information on known cases and locations read here.

Health outcomes, spread and prevention

COVID-19, health outcomes, spread and prevention. Duration:2:31 

Coronavirus can only enter your body through your nose, eyes and hands. That’s why it's so important to continue to follow these simple guidelines to help keep the levels of COVID-19 low in Australia:

  • Physical distancing at 1.5metres distance from others
  • Good Hygienewash hands for 20 seconds. Cover coughs and sneezes, avoid touching your face
  • Get tested even if your symptoms are mild
  • Follow NSW Health guidelines

Read more about how to protect yourself at this Department of Health webpage.

Hand washing

Watch this video to learn proper hand washing techniques so you can avoid spreading the virus to yourself and others:

Center for Disease control, What you need to know about handwashing. Duration 2:00

The Department of Health also has information about ongoing support and information on ways to keep healthy.



Q&A about face masks. Duration:4:20

COVID-19 spreads rapidly and easily. It is possible for you to spread the virus to your friends, loved ones or the UNSW community even if you do not have any symptoms.  The devastating outcome of this can be seen in the mounting death toll and ongoing health implications of those infected with disease both here in Australia  (Victoria) and around the world. 

To limit the impact the Health Service strongly recommends you where a mask if you are sick or unwell, when indoors with others or whenever physical distancing is difficult. We also recommend making or purchasing a number of cloth masks as mask wearing will be the norm for a long time to come. 

NSW Health strongly recommends wearing a face mask when:

  • It is hard to maintain 1.5 metres of physical distance from others
  • Using public transport
  • visiting busy crowded areas e.g. supermarkets, shopping centres, places of worship,
  • In indoor venues with a higher risk of transmission, where practical
  • If working in cafes, restaurants pubs and clubs and other venues with a higher risk of transmission.
  • In hotspots i.e. areas of high community transmission 
  • When entering any Health Care facility 
  • When visiting a vulnerable person (this may be an elderly relative or some one you are caring for) 

People in higher-risk groups are strongly encouraged to wear masks in all social circumstances.

It's important to remember that the use of face masks is not a replacement for other preventive measures, for example; physical distancing, covering your cough's, careful hand washing for at least 20 seconds and avoiding touching the face, nose, eyes and mouth. 

NSW Health has information on masks and how to make a mask. Information is also available in other languages. A template design for a different designs with varying sizes can also found here.  

When wearing a mask it's important to learn how to put them on and take them off correctly.

Centura health: the do's and don'ts of wearing masks and gloves. Duration:5:57

For text/photo based information on how to wear a mask correctly without infecting yourself, check out this link. This information is available in English and many other languages.

When to get tested and symptoms

Dr Bill Kefalas on: When should I get tested for COVID-19 and where ?  Duration: 2:00


The symptoms of COVID-19 include: Cough, sore throat, fever or chills, loss of taste or smell, runny nose, headaches and shortness of breath. Other reported symptoms of COVID-19 include: fatigue, muscle pain, joint pain, diarrhoea, nausea/vomiting and loss of appetite. Also be aware that COVID-19 can also occasionally causes unusual rashes and finger or toe swelling.

Our recommendation to get a test, even if you just have one or more of the above symptoms, is based on the latest clinical advice given to doctors in NSW.

  • The UNSW Health Service conducts tests.  Please call 9385 5425 to find out more and arrange a time. COVID-19 tests can't be booked online
  • NSW Health has testing clinics operating 7 days a week. No appointment is necessary
  • Call your GP for more information
  • Call one of the COVID-19 clinics near where you live

Testing is free, quick and easy. You will be notified of the results 24 to 48 hours after the test. While you wait for your test results avoid contact with others. For more information about testing go to the NSW Health FAQ page here or read the NSW Health Testing summary here

NSW Health recommends having a test each time symptoms develop. If you test positive to COVID-19 all treatment is covered by Medicare or your Overseas Health provider.

A positive test

It’s understandable to be anxious about a positive COVID result, but for most people who get the disease they only experience mild symptoms.  The Department of Health has information about self isolation and how to look after yourself and others.  More information about self Isolation can also be found in this video from the BBC.

Close and casual contacts

COVID-19 is still circulating in our community so it is important to stay informed about the local cases in your area.  Find out what is happening from trusted sources by subscribing to NSW Health alerts, or by checking regularly the free Sydney Morning Herald Coronavirus and ABC Coronavirus websites. In the media you may hear the terms “close” or “casual contacts” being used. NSW Health defines close and casual contacts as:

Close contacts

As anyone that has been near enough to a person with COVID-19 while they were infectious that there is a reasonable chance they will have become infected with COVID-19. Close contact can occur in a number of places including in the home, work, public transport, restaurants, shopping centres or at other venues.  If you are a known closed contact, an authorised contact from NSW Health worker who investigates COVID-19 to identify and follow up people who have had contact with someone with COVID-19 will contact you. If you know you have had contact with a known case, get tested and talk to the staff about isolating.

To find out more information about close contacts please read the NSW Health advice.

Casual contacts

NSW Health defines a casual contact as someone who has been near a confirmed case of COVID-19 while they were infectious but is considered at lower risk than a close contact. They should still be vigilant and watch for symptoms, but casual contacts are not required to self-isolate in their homes unless they develop symptoms. For more information about casual contacts 

 For FAQ information about contacts, isolation and testing requirements please read here.

Find out more

To find out more go to NSW Health. This site has information about the disease in English and multiple languages as well as a community information FAQ page

Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National)    Call: 131 450. COVID-19 information in language.

WHO also has a question and answer section which has information about symptoms and susceptibility. 


Coronavirus Australia government app: has a built in symptom tracker and information cases etc

COVID:19 Safe: download the Department of Health COVID-19 to help stop the spread.

MyAus COVID:19. A resource app for information about COVID-19 and how it impacts you in Australia. Available in multiple languages.

WHO: Novel coronavirus, what is and more about the symptoms

Stay informed

Infection rates in your area and general updates

NSW Health COVID-19 map of infections in your local area. For updates of cases and locations read here.

The Federal government has news and updates

News organizations

SBS has COVID-19 information and news in multiple languages

The Sydney Morning Herald has free coverage on COVID-19 with a dedicated Coronavirus outbreak section and blog.

ABC News also has a daily update where you can follow Coronavirus developments.  

ABC Coronacast looks at the latest news and research. You can find it here or on your podcast app.

COVID-19 information in multiple languages

To find out more about COVID-19, go to the NSW Health community information page.

Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) - COVID-19 information in language.

SBS also has information about COVID-19 in other languages check it out here.

For information in multiple languages on how to wear a mask correctly without infecting yourself, check out this link

Videos explaining COVID-19 preventive measures in other languages below:

What you need to know about COVID-19 Video  

 Physical Distancing Video Messages by Bilingual Health Workers 


Mental health and COVID-19

It's important that if you feel worried, stressed or anxious about your mental health that you seek help at this time.  Support is available online through resources and chat lines or via the phone in the form of telehealth appointments.

UNSW Counselling and Psychological Services is open and can provide free confidential advice to all students. Please call 9385 5418 or read more about COVID-19 and it's impact on mental health here. Appointments to talk about any concerns you may have can also be made with the Health Service Mental Health Nurse on 9385 5425.

UNSW's Health and Wellbeing in the online space  also has more information on how to look after your mental wellbeing during this time. 

External 24/7 help and phone support can also be found at:

Beyond Blue: for online chat and telephone support

Black Dog Institute: if you would like mental health information and self apps for anxiety and depression

Lifeline: if you need to talk to someone.  Lifeline has online chat and telephone support

COVID-19 resources for culturally diverse communities.  This page has mental health information in multiple languages

UNSW support, advice and FAQ

UNSW provides regular updates, advice and FAQs for staff and students. 

If you are a student who needs help or support you should contact The Nucleus, student advisors or help via our International Student advisors

UNSW staff members who require support, UNSW offers a free, confidential counselling service through Benestar, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).