COVID-safe behaviour keeps the community safe
We all have the opportunity and a responsibility to protect lives and livelihoods by maintaining ‘COVID-safe behaviours’ – it’s that simple and yet, incredibly effective.
As a community, we are all learning how to live with COVID-19 for the foreseeable future. The threat from this virus will remain until a vaccine becomes available. This means that whilst we have been able to return to doing some things as normal there are a few restrictions and behaviours that we will have to keep up over the long term. Each and every Tasmanian has an important role to play. Our actions will determine Tasmania’s future, the protection of vulnerable people and the response to potential cases and outbreaks.
There are 5 key behaviours that we must all be aware of and follow, every day. These behaviours will ensure that we lower the risks and continue to save lives during the pandemic. Remember them, remind your family and friends about them and keep them up.
COVID-safe behaviour 1 – Stay at least 1.5 metres away from others.
The more space there is between you and others the harder it is for the virus, and germs generally, to move from one person to another. Stay 1.5 metres from others whenever you go out. Whether you are getting the groceries or meeting a friend for coffee, space saves lives. Minimising contact also means not hugging, kissing or shaking hands when you meet up with others not from your household. If everyone in the community practises physical distancing it will dramatically reduce the chances that any new cases will have had the opportunity to spread.
COVID-safe behaviour 2 – Wash your hands often with soap and warm water. Use alcohol-based hand sanitiser when out and about.
Virus particles easily stick to our hands where they can be passed onto other people or objects we touch. Using soap and thoroughly lathering it on your hands and wrists for 20 seconds before washing it off under running water gets the virus off your hands. Hand washing can make a huge impact – the trick is to make sure you do it several times a day especially before and after eating, before you leave home and as soon as you return home. Warm water and soap are the most effective but hand sanitiser is recommended for when you are out and don’t have access to soap and water.
Take a moment to think about your hand washing habits (how often you wash, and how long you spend doing it). If each of us take just a few extra moments at the sink to wash our hands the potential benefits to community health are huge. Check out this handy guide to hand washing procedure.
COVID-safe behaviour 3 – Stay at home if you are unwell and always cover coughs and sneezes.
Now, more than ever, we need to be vigilant about not spreading illnesses to other people. Vulnerable people, older Tasmanians, businesses and really the entire community is reliant on people making sensible decisions when they feel unwell. We know that COVID-19 spreads when people are unwell and don’t take self-isolation seriously. If you feel sick, stay at home. Do not go to work, your place of study when sick with cold or flu like symptoms. Keeping our communities and workplaces safe relies upon people staying at home when unwell and them safely accessing healthcare options when needed.
It is easier than you think to spread illness to the broader community. Take a moment to think about all the places you usually go in a day, all the surfaces you touch, all the people you cross paths with at work/school, on public transport, at the supermarket and even just walking down the street. Each of those people then do the same things when going about their days. It is easy to see how a pandemic can quickly spread and the impacts on the health of our loved ones can be devastating. Staying at home when sick, saves lives. It also helps you better monitor your own health and symptoms if you take some time out at home.
COVID-safe behaviour 4 – Get tested for COVID-19 if you have any cold or flu-like symptoms.
Early detection of new cases of COVID-19 in Tasmania will keep us safe by preventing further spread in the community. As well as staying at home when if unwell we should get tested for COVID-19 anytime cold or flu-like symptoms are present. If lots of people with symptoms get tested it’s more likely that we will catch any new cases quickly. This protects everyone because anyone with the virus will get diagnosed quickly and their close contacts can be quickly identified. If we know when and where someone got sick, we can act quickly to stop the spread.
Testing is a really simple and easy process. You can call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 to request a test or call your own GP for further advice. Once you have discussed your symptoms with a healthcare professional you will be given an appointment to have the test done in a location that is convenient and accessible for you. For more information specifically about being tested for COVID-19 in Tasmania, see Testing for COVID-19.
COVID-safe behaviour 5 – Be aware of, and follow, current gathering, business and travel restrictions.
Information about the situation and restrictions in Tasmania is updated every day. Knowing what is happening will help us all to make informed decisions for ourselves and our families. If you run a business or an office, sticking with these restrictions will help you protect your staff and your customers. As citizens we can protect businesses, health and the livelihoods of those in our community by being aware of our obligations and making sensible choices.
Things are slowly looking more normal again but there are still some restrictions in place. The current restrictions and risks are assessed every single day so we can rest assured that we are following the latest advice which is based on the best evidence available. As we all know, it’s easier to stick to rules when we understand what they are and what they are needed for. This website is updated every day with the latest. If you need to find out about something specific try using the search function to see what is available. The Public Health Hotline is also available to answer any questions you have; call 1800 671 738.
Remember that this is a collective effort and that every action we take matters.
If we all follow the 5 key behaviours, Tasmanians will be doing everything they can to look after those we love most and keep our community safe and strong.