The World Health Organisation declared coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) back in January 2020. Since then, the tally of infected has only risen. If you're concerned you might be affected by the virus, however, a number of hotlines have been set up in addition to websites. Here are the numbers you can call.
A new coronavirus has broken out in China and has quickly spread across the country with more than 4,000 reported cases and just over 100 confirmed deaths. Closer to home, five people in Australia are now confirmed to have caught the virus. Authorities are urging people not to panic, but there are some simple steps you can take to prevent its spread.
Regardless of where you live in Australia, healthdirect offers a 24-hour phone service for anyone who needs extra information or the steps to take if they suspect they might be affected. Before calling up, it's best to check the healthdirect website for details and symptoms of the virus to see if they match up with your own and if you're confident, call up the hotline on 1800 022 222. If you just want general information, you can call 1800 020 080 instead.
The service also strongly recommends you call up your local hospital or medical centre before you head there to check your symptoms. This way they can best advise you how to travel there without the risk for potential spread to other people.
If you're in Queensland, a similar service is provided by the state government. 13 HEALTH can offer confidential health advice 24 hours a day by calling 13 43 25 84. It should be noted the service is not a diagnostic service and it doesn't replace medical consultation. In emergencies or if you're having trouble breathing, you should call 000 for immediate help.
Remember, if you haven't been to any of the affected regions recently nor had any contact with suspected cases, there's less cause for concern if you're also not displaying the virus' symptoms.
With the novel coronavirus outbreak occurring in China, the internet has been a great way to communicate awareness about the spread and how to minimise the risk of contracting it. But it's also revealed some of the darkest aspects of the web, including the spread of misinformation and outright false information. Here's how you can spot the difference.