Updated: 25 March 2020 07:40 am AEDT  – New Australian Restrictions / Restrictions on Price Gouging Supplies

Updated:  23 March 2020 07:00 am AEDT  –  Major updates to most categories / Australian Restrictions

Updated:  16 March 2020 05:00 am AEDT  –  New travel restrictions / mandatory self-isolation / social distancing

Coronavirus (COVID-19) & Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

This page aims to give you, our CRPS community, easy access to information that you may find helpful during this time, due to the escalating worldwide health emergency in relation to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

This includes advice on how to minimise your increased risk  (This advice applies for anyone who has an underlying health condition such as CRPS, high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer, diabetes, a weakened or suppressed immune system, people with chronic illnesses and for those who appear to develop serious illness more often than others. )

We are monitoring advice and information being given by multiple agencies, which include the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Australian Government Department of HealthNDIS & the Australian Government Services Australia (Centrelink and Medicare).

This information will be updated as required or when new information becomes available.

What is Coronavirus (COVID19)?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough.

Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually.

Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment.

Around 1 out of every 5 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing.

Older people, and those with underlying medical problems & autoimmune disorders or weakened immune systems (including people living with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome – CRPS) are more likely to develop serious illness.

People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.

How does COVID-19 spread?

People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus.

The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.

People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick.

A recent study concluded that the airborne particles can stay in the air for up to 3 hours and and live on surfaces such as plastic and stainless steel for up to three days.

COVID-19 Prevention Measures

You can reduce your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 by taking some simple precautions:

  • Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.

  • Maintain at least 2 metres (6 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.

  • Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately – preferably into a closed bin.

  • Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.

  • Keep up to date on the latest COVID-19 hotspots (cities or local areas where COVID-19 is spreading widely). If possible, avoid traveling to these places  – especially if you are a person with a pre-existing illness, autoimmune disorder or a weakened immune system.

See specific information for people with .CRPS and underlying health conditions below

Wash your hands
Wash your hands often
Cover your cough or sneeze
Avoid close contact

How to get help for COVID-19 in Australia

If you become unwell and think you may have symptoms of coronavirus, seek medical attention.

  • Call your local doctor.

  • Ask your doctor for a telehealth appointment.

  • Tell your doctor about your symptoms, travel history and any recent close contact with someone who has coronavirus.

If you must leave home to see your doctor, wear a surgical mask (if you have one) to protect others.

 You can also:

  • contact the Central Patient COVID-19 Triage Hotline –1800 020 080

  • contact your state or territory health authority about how to get tested

  • read the guide to isolating yourself at home.

If you have serious symptoms such as respiratory distress / difficulty breathing, call 000 for urgent medical help.

NB:  000 should only be phoned in relation to immediate health emergencies.  If you are not seriously unwell please phone the Central Patient COVID-19 Triage Hotline or your local doctor for help and advice.

If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can use the National Relay Service to access the COVID-19 hotline.

You can visit the National Relay Service website or call 1300 555 727.

If you need translation and/or interpretation support, translating and interpreting services are offered by the Australian Government on the Department of Home Affairs website .

The Australian Central Patient COVID-19 Triage Hotline –1800 020 080

The national 24/7 hotline is being expanded to help triage people with respiratory symptoms and those who are concerned about contact with a possible COVID-19 case.

This service will reduce the number of people presenting at hospital emergency departments or GP clinics who risk spreading COVID-19.  Advice can also be given over the phone by trained health professionals.

Depending on their circumstances, people will be advised to attend a public hospital respiratory clinic, a primary care respiratory clinic, to self isolate at home, to seek a medical practitioner telehealth consultation or to take no further action.

This will help reduce the risk of transmission and conserve Personal Protective Equipment.

It will will also provide facilities to support telehealth consultations and maintain a comprehensive national directory of available health services.

The hotline will ‘stream’ suspected COVID-19 patients and assist with containment and spread of infection.

COVID-19 Self Isolation

You may be asked to self-isolate if you have a mild case of COVID-19 and do not require treatment in hospital or to protect yourself or to protect others.

In Australia in some cases self-isolation is mandatory.  To help limit the spread of coronavirus, you must isolate yourself in the following circumstances:

  • Anyone entering Australia after midnight 15th March 2020

• If you have left, or transited through mainland China or Iran in the last 14 days, you must isolate yourself for 14 days from the date of leaving mainland China/Iran.

• If you have left, or transited through the Republic of Korea on or after 5 March 2020 you must isolate yourself for 14 days after the date of leaving the Republic of Korea.

• If you have left or transited through Italy on or after 11 March 2020 you must isolate yourself for 14 days after the date of leaving Italy.

• If you have been in close contact with a proven case of coronavirus, you must isolate yourself for 14 days from the date of last contact with the confirmed case.

How to self-isolate

  • When travelling home use personal transport, such as a car, to minimise exposure to others.

  • If you need to use public transport (e.g. taxis, ride-hail services, trains, buses and trams), you must take the following precautions:

    • Wear a surgical mask, if available.

    • Avoid direct contact with other passengers, drivers and transport staff.

    •  Practise good hand hygiene and cough/sneeze hygiene:

      • wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and
        after going to the toilet

      • cover your cough and sneeze, dispose of tissues, and use alcohol-based hand

      •  and avoid contact with others (stay more than 1.5 metres from people).

  • During the 14 days of isolation, you must stay at home and don’t go to public places including work, school, childcare, university or public gatherings. Only people who usually live with you should be in the home. Do not see visitors.

  • If you are well, there is no need to wear surgical masks at home. Ask others who are not in isolation to get food and necessities for you. If you must leave home, such as to seek medical care, wear a surgical mask. If you don’t have a mask, take care to not cough or sneeze on others.

  • When in isolation, monitor yourself for symptoms including fever, cough or shortness of breath. Other early symptoms can include chills, body aches, sore throat, runny nose and muscle pain.

  • If you live in a private house, it is safe for you to go into your garden or courtyard. If you live in an apartment it is also safe for you to go into the garden but you should wear a surgical mask to minimise risk to others and move quickly through any common areas.

  • Others that live with you are not required to be isolated unless they meet one of the isolation criteria outlined above or if you have a confirmed case of COVID-19.  If you develop symptoms and are suspected to have coronavirus, they will be classified as close contacts and will need to be isolated.

  • To minimise the spread of any germs you should regularly wash surfaces that are frequently touched such as door handles, light switches, kitchen and bathroom areas. Clean with household detergent or disinfectant.

Avoid travel if you have a fever or cough
Avoid close contact with people suffering fever or cough

When in public choose kindness and consideration

It is important to remember that most people displaying symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat or tiredness are just as likely to be suffering with a cold or other respiratory illness—not COVID-19.

Managing the 14 day isolation

Being in isolation can be stressful and boring. Suggestions include:

• Keep in touch with family members, friends and CRPS community members via telephone, email or social media.

• Learn about coronavirus and talk with others.

• Reassure young children using age-appropriate language.

• Where possible, keep up normal daily routines, such as eating and exercise.

• Arrange to work from home.

• Ask your child’s school to supply assignments or homework by post or email.

• Do things that help you relax and use isolation as an opportunity to do activities you don’t usually have time for.

If you’re experiencing stress, you may like to talk to someone at Lifeline or Headspace.

Lifeline is a national charity open to all Australians in personal crisis. They have 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.

Headspace is the national youth mental health foundation. They can help young people who are going through a tough time.