Preventing infection

As the spread of COVID-19 continues a recent ABC News article updated 2 March 2020, outlines advice on what you can do to protect yourselves and your customers against the virus.

How it’s spread

COVID-19, which has now been name a “global public health emergency” is spread by “respiratory droplets” from an infected person.

Respiratory droplets are secretions we produce when we cough or sneeze.


The symptoms produced by COVID-19 are reported to be “minor ailments” (sore throat, fatigue, coughing, runny nose) to more serious symptoms like difficulty breathing.

Those believed to be more at risk of experiencing more serious symptoms are people with underlying health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

However, healthy younger people have reportedly been affected by more severe symptoms too.

In the most serious cases, the virus is said to cause pneumonia (infection of one or both lungs), which can be deadly.

The best way to avoid infection

Steps to avoid infection with COVID-19 are those you would normally take to avoid catching the flu.

First and foremost, this includes regular hand washing – keep your hands as clean as possible through washing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.

Speaking with ABC News on 1 March 2020, the Associate Professor Sanjaya Senanyake, an infectious diseases specialist from the Australian National University reports that hands contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in several ways.

“People who are coughing and sneezing, either into their own hands or onto surfaces, are contaminating their hands and those surfaces with virus particles.”

The World Health Organisation outlines that you should wash your hands:

  • After coughing or sneezing
  • When caring for the sick
  • Before, during and after you prepare food
  • Before eating
  • After using the toilet
  • When hands are visibly dirty
  • After handling animals or animal waste.

It’s also important to:

  • Avoid touching your face – your nose, mouth and eyes.
  • Clean and disinfect touched surfaces frequently, especially when someone is sick.

“If your hands have coronavirus on them and you touch your face, then you definitely can get infected,” Dr Senanyake adds.

What to do if you’re sick

It’s advised that if you become unwell you take all the normal steps you would take if you were sick with the flu.

This includes keeping your distance from others to protect them from getting sick.

The World Health Organisation also recommends:

  • When coughing and sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue.
  • Throw the tissue into a closed bin immediately after use.
  • Clean hands with an alcohol-based hand run or soap and water after coughing or sneezing, and when caring for the sick.

If you suspect you have COVID-19 you should immediately contact your GP and explain your symptoms and travel history.

It’s imperative though, that you don’t make an appointment or attend your GP practice or hospital without informing them first.