Can I go out to the shops? How do I know if I have the virus?

Are you getting a bit confused about what you’re supposed to be doing with so many announcements? You’re not alone. Here is the lowdown on what you can do to protect yourself, those you love and the wider community.

1. Be a hero, stay at home

The Government needs your help to flatten the curve – that is, to reduce the number of cases of coronavirus and give hospitals more time to prepare for patients with the disease.

The protective measures the Australian Government has introduced include self-isolation, or staying at home to prevent the possible spread of the virus. It’s important to note the virus could be asymptomatic for some people (people can have the virus, but still feel fine). This makes it even more dangerous, because some people may unknowingly pass it onto their vulnerable family members, friends or colleagues before displaying any symptoms.

The University is doing its best to keep your studies as uninterrupted as possible by moving your units digitally and remotely.

Flatten the curve – explaining the graph

The graph shows the number of cases of disease on the Y axis (going up) against time along the X axis (going across). There are two different curves.

The red curve is very tall and steep. This shows that lots of people can get the disease in a short space of time if we don't take protective measures and continue on as normal. In this situation the healthcare system will quickly become overwhelmed and will struggle to treat everybody in need.

The blue curve is much flatter. This shows what can happen if we take protective measures, such as staying at home whenever possible. In this situation, although lots of people still get the disease, the cases are spread out over a much longer timeframe. This is very important because it means that the healthcare system doesn't get overwhelmed – everybody gets the treatment that they need and our medical staff and support workers are less at risk.

Graph showing number of cases of disease over time - full description in body text.

You have an important role to play in flattening the curve.

2. Stay away from me

If you’re an introvert, now is your time to shine! This is what it means to keep an acceptable distance:

  • stay at home unless absolutely necessary
  • work from home, if you can
  • keep at least 1.5 metres away from others
  • avoid physical greetings such as handshaking, hugs and kisses
  • use ‘tap and pay’ instead of cash
  • travel at quiet times and avoid crowds.

Long distance is the right distance.

3. No big crowds anywhere

There is now a maximum limit of two people in any public gathering, unless you are a family unit, or live together. In Victoria, you can get fined $1600 for not following the public gathering limitation rule.

Follow these rules when it comes to gatherings or going out:

  • You can go out to get necessities, including groceries and food.
  • You can order food directly to pick up from restaurants or have it delivered (food delivery apps help avoid further interactions).
  • No house parties, soirees, pubs, gyms, movies, casinos, clubs, eating-in at restaurants/cafés, markets, religious services or gatherings.
  • No meeting up with people from dating apps.

Rediscover the classics at home!

4. Practise good hygiene

This may be difficult for some people, but this is serious, so pay attention!

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your elbow or a tissue.
  • Put used tissues straight into the bin, not your pocket.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water (for 20 seconds!), including before and after eating and after going to the toilet.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitisers when hand-washing isn’t an option.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently used surfaces such as benchtops, desks and doorknobs.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently used objects such as mobile phones, keys and wallets.
  • Increase the fresh air by opening windows or adjusting air conditioning.

Sneeze into your elbow and stop the spread!

5. Find support if you’re concerned

If you’re sick and think you might have the virus, check your symptoms using healthdirect’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptom checker.

You can also call the National Coronavirus Helpline for information and advice at 1800 020 080.

Check your symptoms online, or get in touch.

Stay in the know!

The situation is changing rapidly so here are five channels for the most up-to-date developments:

Check in with the latest news through the official channels.

Contact us

If you have any questions about VU's COVID-19 response, please contact us:

Phone: +61 3 9919 6398

Email: [email protected]

Keep up to date with VU's response to the coronavirus. This page includes links to FAQs for students and staff, and helpful information and links to government sites.