Living with COVID and staying safeWednesday, 22 December 2021
With cases of Omicron on the rise across Australia we’re sharing an update on living with COVID and staying safe.
Follow these steps to help protect yourself and those close to you.
Omicron is a new variant of the virus that causes COVID-19. It was first reported in South Africa on 24 November 2021 and the World Health Organization declared it a ‘variant of concern’ on 26 November 2021.
Omicron is here in Australia and is spreading quickly. While we are learning more about this variant of the COVID-19 virus, there is a lot you can do to protect yourself and those around you.
One of the most effective ways to protect yourself and others is to make sure you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccinations.
Everyone 12 years and over can now book an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine.
Boosters are recommended for people aged 18 years and older, five months after your second dose. Pfizer and Moderna are the preferred vaccines for boosters. Find out more about the vaccine and the boosters.
If you are ready to book an appointment for the vaccine or your booster, you can find more information about availability and making an appointment in your area here.
Slow the spread
To help slow the spread of all strains of the COVID-19 virus, it’s a good idea to practise good hygiene, wear a mask and practice physical distancing when in public places.
Good hygiene includes washing your hands, covering your coughs and regularly cleaning your home or workplace. Some easy rules to follow include:
- wash your hands often with soap and water. This includes before and after eating and after going to the toilet
- use alcohol-based hand sanitisers when you can’t use soap and water
- avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- clean and disinfect surfaces you use often such as benchtops, desks and doorknobs
- clean and disinfect objects you use often such as mobile phones, keys, wallets and work passes
- increase the amount of fresh air by opening windows or changing air conditioning
Wearing a mask can help protect you and those around you if you are in an area with community transmission, and physical distancing is not possible.
The main value of wearing a mask is that it reduces the chance of the virus being passed on to others.
For people at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, because they are older or live with a chronic illness like diabetes, physical distancing is most important. If you can’t maintain physical distance, wearing a mask is an important protective measure.
One way to slow the spread of virus is physical distancing. The more space between you and others, the harder it is for the virus to spread.
As restrictions are eased across Australia it is important that you continue to keep some space between yourself and others wherever possible. In public physical distancing means:
- keeping 1.5 metres away from others wherever possible
- avoiding physical greetings such as handshaking, hugs and kisses
- practising extra care if you are using public transport
- avoiding crowds – if you see a crowded space do not enter
- avoiding large public gatherings
Care for your health
If you are unwell and think it might be COVID-19, it’s important to get tested and seek medical attention straight away.
However, if you are unwell with a different medical problem you should contact your doctor.
If you have a chronic condition like diabetes, it’s important to keep up with your usual medical and pathology appointments. Contact your doctor, diabetes educator or specialist to talk about any concerns might you have.
You may be able to arrange a telehealth appointment with medical professionals. Don’t let that put you off by this online alternative. It’s important that you have access to care to get the health advice you need.
National Coronavirus Helpline
For information about COVID-19 and vaccines call 1800 020 080. This line operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with additional options for priority groups.
*This article was updated on 14 January 2022