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Coronavirus Update

Important coronavirus (Covid-19) update for our stroke community

20 March 2020

What you need to know about coronavirus

People who have had a Stroke should be aware that, just like with the flu, they are at a higher risk of severe symptoms and complications from coronavirus.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness caused by a new virus. Symptoms range from a mild cough to pneumonia. Some people recover easily, others may get very sick very quickly. There is evidence that it spreads from person to person.

To help stop the virus spreading, everyone should practice good hygiene, and sneeze and cough hygiene is the best defence against most viruses.

You should:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water before and after eating and after going to the toilet.
  • Cover your cough and sneeze, dispose of tissues, and use alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
  • Practice social distancing - avoid contact with others (stay more than 1.5 metres from people).
  • To help slow the spread, the Australian Government has advised, organised, outside non-essential gatherings of 500 people or more and inside non-essential gatherings of more than 100 people should be suspended. 
  • To protect vulnerable Australians, the Government has also advised reducing visitors to all residential aged care facilities and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. 
  • Government has advised Australians not to travel overseas, those who are overseas have been advised to come home and the borders of Australia have been closed to people who are not Australian citizens or residents.  .  

This advice does not include workplaces, schools, universities, shops, supermarkets, public transport and airports.

Who is most at risk of a serious illness? Some people who are infected may not get sick at all, some will get mild symptoms from which they will recover easily, and others may become very ill, very quickly. From previous experience with other coronaviruses, the people at most risk of serious infection are:

  • People with compromised immune systems (e.g. Cancer).
  • Elderly people.
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, as they have higher rates of chronic illness.
  • people with diagnosed chronic medical conditions (such as Diabetes, Hypertension, Respiratory Disease, Kidney Disease, Cardiovascular disease (Stroke & Heart Disease).
  • People in group residential settings.
  • People in detention facilities.

At this stage the risk to children and babies, and the role children play in the transmission of COVID-19, is not clear. However, there has so far been a low rate of confirmed COVID-19 cases among children, relative to the broader population.

Availability of medicines

The Department of Health has advised that there are no current shortages or supply issues medicines. People with medical conditions are advised to order and obtain your medicines and supplies as usual. There is no need to stockpile.

What should you do if you feel unwell?

If you experience symptoms of coronavirus you should seek medical attention.

The Department of Health provides the following advice:

“Call ahead of time to book an appointment. Tell your doctor about your symptoms, travel history and any recent close contact with someone who has coronavirus.

If you must leave home to see your doctor, wear a surgical mask (if you have one) to protect others. If you have serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, call triple zero (000) for urgent medical help.”


People with coronavirus may experience:

  • Fever.
  • Coughing.
  • Sore throat.
  • Fatigue.
  • Shortness of breath. 

Want more information?

It is important to we all have the correct and up-to-date medical advice and reports.

The World Health Organisation and Australian Government are updating the links below daily. We suggest, monitoring their recommendations and act accordingly.



If you have questions about coronavirus, please call the Australian Government’s Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080. The helpline operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

There is a large amount of unverified information circulating on social media. It is important that you seek information on coronavirus from trusted sources.

Visit the Australian Government's Department of Health online training module on How to protect yourself and the people you are caring for from infection with COVID–19

Visit the Australian Government’s Coronavirus Information Page listed above. This page is regularly updated with the latest information.