The ABC has received thousands of questions about the new coronavirus, such as how it spreads, how to protect yourself and what is being done to combat it.
We have sorted through some of your most-asked questions.
How did coronavirus start?
The first case of coronavirus was detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan on December 12, 2019.
The virus is first thought to have originated from the city’s Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.
How do you catch coronavirus?
Coronavirus is thought to be spread by small drops of moisture we release when we sneeze or cough.
The moisture has to get into your body to make you sick, which means you can catch coronavirus if those droplets get into your eyes, nose or mouth.
How do I know if I have coronavirus?
The most common symptoms of coronavirus are fever, sore throat, dry cough and fatigue. Other symptoms can also include headaches, nasal congestion or a runny nose.
Diarrhea and nausea have also been reported as symptoms but they are less common.
How is coronavirus tested?
The COVID-19 test can be ordered by a specialist coronavirus clinic, your local GP or a hospital emergency department.
The Federal Government has announced plans to create up to 100 coronavirus pop-up clinics across the country.
But these testing facilities vary state by state, so it’s best to first be in touch with the coronavirus health information hotline on 1800 020 080 for advice.
Testing methods may include a blood test, a swab test inside your nose or in the back of your throat, or a sputum test, which examines a mix of saliva and mucus.
Remember, you may still need a GP referral before attending new clinics, so be sure to check first.
How do you get tested for coronavirus?
To get tested for coronavirus, you should first contact your general practitioner (GP) and warn them of your symptoms before arriving at the practice.
Your GP or hospital emergency department can order the test kits and, once completed, they are processed in public health laboratories across Australia.
How long can coronavirus survive on a surface?
A study of previous coronaviruses found human coronaviruses could theoretically last on surfaces at room temperature for up to nine days.
That length of time could depend on:
- The type of surface, because viruses survive on shiny, hard surfaces longer than soft ones;
- Whether it is exposed to sunlight, because UV radiation kills viruses; and
- Temperature and humidity, because viruses last longer at lower temperatures and lower humidity.
How can I prevent myself getting coronavirus?
The best way to avoid catching coronavirus from touching a contaminated surface is to wash your hands properly and avoid touching your face.
You should also wash your hands:
- After you use the bathroom;
- After you cough or sneeze;
- After taking public transport;
- Before eating and preparing food;
- After touching animals;
- When caring for someone who is sick
Who is most at risk of catching coronavirus?
People over 65 are at higher risk of more severe symptoms, as are those with pre-existing conditions like heart disease or asthma.
Unlike during the influenza outbreak in 2009, pregnant women do not seem to be at greater risk of contracting coronavirus.
Can I still go on holiday outside Australia?
The Federal Government has advised all Australians against travelling overseas unless it is absolutely essential.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has issues a number of travel warnings for countries hit by the virus.
Is coronavirus worse than the flu?
Many people diagnosed with the coronavirus will feel like they have the flu.
The main difference between COVID-19 and the flu is that there is a lack of immunity in the community for the new coronavirus because there is no vaccine.
Another difference is that the coronavirus appears to take about six to seven days to spread between people, whereas the flu can spread between people in four days.
Can children get coronavirus?
Yes, although people aged under 18 are less susceptible to the virus, according to the limited clinical reports available.
Can dogs get coronavirus?
The World Health Organisation says there is currently no evidence that pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus.
How long will the coronavirus last?
Scientists are working on new technologies to try and develop a vaccine for COVID-19.
The World Health Organisation said the first vaccines targeting the disease could take 18 months to develop, which would mean August, 2021.
Why is coronavirus so bad in Italy?
COVID-19 has a more severe effect on the elderly and people with existing medical conditions.
According to a 2019 UN report, 23 per cent of Italy’s population is 65 or older.