Novel Coronavirus 2019:COVID-19

Please note: The Health Service remains open!



If you have recently returned from overseas and have symptoms of the Novel Coronavirus: COVID-19, are a health care worker or you know somebody diagnosed with Novel Coronavirus:COVID-19. Please isolate yourself and call immediately:

COVID-19 National Hotline on 1800 020 080
Medibank OSHC Health and Support Line on 1800 887 283
UNSW Health Service on 9385 5425

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of the novel coronavirus can include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Those considered at high risk may have travelled from overseas recently or been in contact with a confirmed case of the coronavirus. If you have these symptoms, please contact your GP or the phone numbers above to arrange a test.  If you have an online appointment you can go to a screening clinic. You cannot attend a clinic without consulting a doctor via the phone or online first.

 For more information and health FAQ's

  • The Department of Health has an extensive list of FAQ information and further information about the disease. It has information specifically for Chinese students and other languages.
  • The NSW Health site has extensive information. Check out their FAQ's. Information in Chinese as well as information in other languages. 
  • International students can call the Medibank OSHC Health and Support Line on 1800 887 283
  • The University also has answers to frequently asked questions

Professor of Global Biosecurity Raina MacIntyre, Head of the Biosecurity Program at the Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney, answers important questions about the novel coronavirus. How is COVID-19 transmitted? How do I protect myself? Produced 1 March 2020.

Social Distancing

As a UNSW community we have a responsibility to all act in a way that will aide the control of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The way we achieve this is to adopt behaviours which both reduce the chance of us each catching the Coronavirus and reduce the chance of spreading the Coronavirus if we are getting infected with it. As early symptoms can be mild (fever, lethargy) before a cough might start, you may not realize you are getting ill.

These include hygiene measures and isolating if you are not well.

And practicing social distancing - NSW Health provides this guide:

Social distancing is an effective measure, but it is recognised that it cannot be practised in all situations and the aim is to generally reduce potential for transmission.

While practising social distancing, people can travel to work (including public transport). For non-essential activities outside the workplace or attendance at schools, universities and childcare - social distancing includes:

  • avoiding crowds and mass gatherings where it is difficult to keep the appropriate distance away from others
  • avoiding small gatherings in enclosed spaces, for example family celebrations
  • attempting to keep a distance of 1.5 metres between themselves and other people where possible, for example when they are out and about in public place.
  • avoiding shaking hands, hugging, or kissing other people
  • avoid visiting vulnerable people, such as those in aged care facilities or hospitals, infants, or people with compromised immune systems due to illness or medical treatment

Further measures which may impact teaching and other essential functions at UNSW will be announced by the leadership if it is necessary. 

Covid-19 National Hotline: 1800 020 080

Testing clinics

Symptoms of the novel coronavirus can include fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Those considered at high risk may have travelled from overseas recently or been in contact with a confirmed case of the coronavirus. If you have these symptoms, please contact your GP or the numbers above to arrange a test.  If you have an online appointment you can go to a screening clinic. You cannot attend a clinic without consulting a doctor via the phone or online first.

Coronavirus screening clinics

Coronavirus (COVID-19) screening clinics are also in operation at several hospitals across the region:

  • Prince of Wales Hospital 10.00am - 8.00pm daily - access via Building 14B Avoca St, Randwick
  • Royal Prince Alfred Hospital 8.00 am - 10.00 pm daily
  • St Vincent’s Hospital 10.30am - 6.00pm daily. Enter via main hospital entrance and follow the green line to the Flu Assessment Clinic.(*All non-emergency presentations for testing of children should go to Sydney Children's Hospital or Royal Prince Alfred Hospital)
  • Concord Hospital, 8.00 am - 6.00 pm daily - across road from ED in Sports Institute Building
  • Canterbury Hospital, 8.00 am - 10.00 pm daily - access via the After Hours GP entrance
  • Sydney Eye Hospital Emergency Department, 8 Macquarie St, Sydney, is now offering testing
  • Redfern Health Centre, 103 – 105 Redfern St  9.00am – 4.00pm Monday - Saturday
  • St George Hospital  8.00am - 6.00pm daily - Gray Street Kogarah  
  • Sutherland Hospital  8.00am - 8.00pm daily,  Ground Floor, old Emergency Department, Kareena Road entrance, then follow signs from ED.
  • Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick - clinic available - 5.00pm – 9.00pm Monday – Friday, 1.30pm – 9.00pm Saturday, Sunday

The services are staffed by Emergency Department clinicians for patients suspected of COVID-19 infection. Patients should meet testing criteria as specified under triage. No referral required.

How to Self-Isolate

The Department of Health has extensive up to date information about self isolation. Please refer to this in the first instance. Information is available in multiple languages.

Summary of How to Self-Isolate

Do not go to public places such as work, school, shopping centres, childcare or university. If possible, ask other people to get food and other necessities for you and leave them at your front door.

Only people who usually live with you should be in your home. Do not let in visitors.

You do not need to wear a mask in your home.

If you need to leave home to seek medical attention, wear a surgical mask (if you have one) to protect others.

The UNSW Health Service has developed guidelines for home isolation. Source:

For more information on self isolation, particularly in relation to shared accomodation, please go directly to the current information on the NSW Health site here. Chinese language versions are available in simplified Chinese and traditional Chinese.

Check out this video from the BBC on Self Isolating

Close contact with the COVID-19

The Department of Health FAQ information has detail on commonly asked questions including this one:

What should I do if I come into contact with a person with COVID-19?

If you have been identified as a contact of a person with confirmed COVID-19 infection in Australia, the local public health unit will contact you with advice. You need to isolate yourself at home for 14 days after contact with the infected person, and to monitor your health and report any symptoms.

Person to person spread of coronaviruses generally occurs between people who are close contacts with one another. A close contact is typically someone who has been face to face for at least 15 minutes, or been in the same closed space for at least 2 hours, with a person that was infectious. The public health unit will keep in touch with people who are close contacts of patients with COVID-19 infection. If any symptoms develop contacts must call the public health unit to report those symptoms.

If your contact with the person was less than this, there is a much smaller risk of you being infected. However, as a precaution you must still monitor your health until 14 days after you were last exposed to the infectious person. If you develop symptoms including a fever and/or respiratory signs, please call ahead to talk to a doctor or call healthdirect on 1800 022 222. Tell your doctor that you have been in contact with someone with COVID-19. The doctor may tell you to attend your nearest emergency department – if so when you arrive, immediately tell staff you have had contact with someone with COVID-19.

More information about home isolation is available for:

Practice simple hygiene by:

  • making sure to clean your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand rub
  • cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with tissue or a flexed elbow.

What should I do if I come into contact with a person who has been identified as a contact?

If you have been in contact with a person identified as a close contact of another person with confirmed COVID-19 infection, you do not need to self-isolate (although the close contact does) and don’t need take any other special precautions.

If a close contact develops symptoms and is confirmed as a COVID-19 case, public health authorities will determine who, if anyone, has been in close contact with them while they were infectious, and these people will be directed to self-isolate.

 Additional information

The NSW Health has produced some guidelines for those who have had  contact with the virus.

Protecting yourself from COVID-19 infection

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends individuals:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough
  • Please observe and comply with health-related signage around the University and Hospitals.

For more information about simple personal hygiene practices to reduce exposure to illness read here or visit the WHO website.




Student and Staff support

UNSW students who require support should contact The Nucleus

Students can also access support via our International Student advisors

For UNSW staff members who require support, UNSW offers a free, confidential counselling service through Benestar, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Details of the EAP are available here.


Mental Health

The current uncertainty around COVID:19  can cause a degree of stress and anxiety. It is normal to feel worried, stressed and anxious when we face uncertain situations. If you are feeling worried or anxious at this time, please seek help and support either online or by talking to someone on the phone.

For information and support check out these links.

 Contact UNSW Counselling and Psychological Services or the Health Service Mental Health Nurse can provide telehealth or phone support if needed

If you or someone you know needs urgent help, please call 000 


Here are a few tips for when you are feeling stressed and anxious.

  • Seek reliable information from the Media and government sources
  • Set limits to news on virus (once or twice a day)
  • Try to separate things that are in your control from things that are not
  • Try some breathing and mindfulness techniques to help you relax, below
  • Staying update to university support
Useful self help Apps and websites

Smiling mind: Free Mindfulness app, short mindfulness exercises for adults and kids.

Mental health foundation: Helpline and information for all ages

Headspace has great resources on how to cope with stress and anxiety around the COVID:19 

More resources on Mental health can be find on Mind Hub.

Stay up to date: COVID-19

For more information about COVID-19 check out these links:

Health organisations

First check out the Center for Disease Control in the US,  their Coronavirus website has evidenced based information that is easy to access and is in English, Chinese and Spanish.

Media/News organisations

The Sydney Morning Herald has excellent coverage with an Coronavirus outbreak section.

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

BBC information about symptoms and severity - Illustrated content

Coronavirus disease transfer rate as key to danger - An article by The Australian

A map detailing the spread of COVID-19 by Johns Hopkins CSSE


WHO has published a number of informational videos on COVID-19.

Coronavirus explanation from WHO, courtesy of SMH and the Age. Feb 9th


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