Staying safe

Everyone needs to play their part to help limit the spread of COVID-19 in Western Australia.

Stay at home if unwell and get tested

If you feel unwell or sick, you should stay at home. Do not go to work or school.

If you experience any COVID-like symptoms, no matter how mild, get a COVID-19 test.

Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations

Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and the community against serious illness from COVID-19. If you are vaccinated, you are less likely to get very sick and end up in hospital or even die from COVID.

Keep up to date with all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses and boosters. The number of recommended doses will depend on your age and personal circumstances.

Speak to your GP for more information on COVID-19 vaccines.

Practise good hygiene

  • Wash your hands often and with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use your inner elbow. Throw the tissue in the bin and wash or sanitise your hands immediately.
  • Clean surfaces and objects such as doorknobs, keyboards and phones regularly with detergent and disinfectant.

Physical distance

  • Keep at least 1.5 metres or two arms’ lengths away from others.
  • Avoid physical greetings, such as handshakes, hugs and kisses.
  • Use the ‘tap and pay’ option instead of paying with cash
  • Avoid large public gatherings and places where there are crowds of people.
  • Do not visit other people if they are unwell.

For more information about how to practise physical distancing at home, work, school or socially, visit the Australian Government Department of Health website (external site).

Face masks

Use of face masks is not required in Western Australia but they should be worn in crowded indoor settings and where physical distancing is not possible.

Hospitals and healthcare settings may have face mask policies for employees and visitors. Refer to the hospital or healthcare setting for any face mask requirements.

Reduce air transmission of COVID-19 at home

The risk of COVID-19 spreading in crowded, indoor spaces is much higher than outdoors. This is because an infected person can spread the virus in droplets and aerosols that go into the air when they breathe, talk, cough or sneeze.

Diluting the air in your home with outdoor air can reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission at home.

You can minimise the spread of the virus in your home, particularly if you are inviting guests, through ventilation and other simple and low-cost methods:

  • Limit the number of guests in your home and encourage physical distancing where possible.
  • Consider entertaining in outdoor spaces at your home.
  • Open external windows and doors to allow for a good air exchange from outside
  • Increase air flow by using electric or ceiling fans on the lowest setting and turn on kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans.
  • Use an air conditioning system that can bring outdoor air into the house (some air conditioning systems just recirculate indoor air). Check your system, know how it works and follow instructions on maintenance and cleaning.
  • Use a portable air cleaner unit, with proper HEPA filters, to reduce the number of viral particles in the air.

For more detailed information, see COVID-19 and air purifiers/cleaners (PDF 149KB)

Preparing for COVID-19

With COVID-19 in the community, it is important we continue to take care of our health. 

  • Schedule a check-up with your GP if you missed medical or health appointments due to having COVID-19.
  • Attend any regular health appointments you may have
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat healthy and nutritious food

If you have COVID-19, you should stay home for at least 5 days and until your symptoms resolve to prevent the spread of infection.

Make sure you keep extra supplies at home, so you don’t need to go out and shop for them while you have COVID-19. This will enable you to stay home while you have symptoms so you can rest and recover.

The items below are handy to have:

  • face masks
  • soap (or hand sanitiser), and cleaning products to help protect others at home
  • pain relief medication and electrolytes (from the pharmacy or supermarket)
  • your regular medications
  • rapid antigen tests (RATs). You may be able to access these from the WA Free RAT program (external site)
  • thermometer to check for fever
  • a COVID care plan to guide care for your children or other people in your care, and pets, should you need to go to hospital with COVID-19 (see COVID-19 Care Plans below)
  • a plan to access food and other essentials. Will it be through a supermarket delivery or can your support person help?
  • a list of phone numbers of people you can call if you need help
  • activities to keep you and others in your house, such as children, entertained
People at greater risk of serious illness from COVID-19

If you are at greater risk of serious illness from COVID-19, you should follow the advice above and take extra care to avoid any contact with COVID-19 cases, close contacts and people who have COVID-like symptoms.

Ask your GP or specialist for more advice on how to stay safe that is specific to your needs.

In addition to the above advice, you might like to consider taking some extra steps to stay safe.

When having a social gathering at home

  • Ask anyone attending to stay at home if they have any COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Ensure all attendees are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations. 
  • Ask guests to complete a rapid antigen test (RAT) in the hours before the gathering.
  • Ask guests not to attend if they are a close contact, even if they don’t have symptoms. 
  • Encourage guests to use hand sanitiser when they enter.
  • Don’t share cups and utensils or serve finger foods.
  • Gather outside, or if not possible open windows and doors to improve ventilation.
  • Remember, do not greet guests with a kiss or a hand-shake – use the elbow greeting if you must.

If you need to visit a public setting such as the shopping centre or medical appointment in hospital

  • Always wear your mask 
  • Practice physical distancing and avoid busy areas
  • Waiting outside or in an open, well-ventilated area where possible.

If you need to travel and cannot avoid public transportation

  • Avoid eating while travelling. If you are on a long trip, eat once everyone else has put their mask back on
  • Perform hand hygiene before and after using public transport
  • Sit where ventilation is best. Open windows and sit in the back when riding in a taxi or rideshare vehicle.

If you are unable to work from home

  • Talk to your employer about your circumstances so arrangements can be made to minimise your risk in your work environment; a letter from your doctor may help.
  • Try to ensure your workspace allows for appropriate physical distancing and is well ventilated – watch this video (external site) on the importance of ventilation.
COVID-safe travel in WA

Before you travel

Before you go away on holiday, make sure you pack the following in case you develop COVID-like symptoms:

  • rapid antigen tests (RATs) - you may be able to access these from the WA Free RAT program (external site)
  • face masks, hand sanitiser, tissues
  • thermometer
  • pain relief medication, electrolytes and your regular medications / prescriptions
  • proof of vaccination in case it is required
  • enough food, water, and fuel with you to complete the trip home without making unnecessary stops.

Save important phone numbers to your mobile phone. These can include:

  • 13 COVID (13 26843)
  • your GP or medical clinic
  • healthdirect (1800 022 222)
  • family, neighbours or other important support networks.

If you need to return home because you are unwell with COVID-19, it may help to ask somebody in your support network to check you have arrived home safely or drop off groceries or medical supplies. 

Considerations before travelling

Think about what you will do if you test positive for COVID-19 or become a close contact while you are away.

Remember to stay safe on WA roads (external site)

If you become unwell while travelling 

If you experience COVID-like symptoms, get tested as soon as possible. Do not wait until you get home.

Rapid antigen tests (RATs) are a safe, convenient, and fast option.

PCR tests are available at public COVID testing clinics for people with COVID-like symptoms and asymptomatic close contacts, and at private pathology clinics with a GP referral.

Stay at your accommodation and away from others until you get your test results.

You can return home while waiting for your test results if you are well enough to travel, minimise stops or contact with others, and wear a mask. You can also open car windows to help clear the air.

Stay where you are if you are not well enough to return home safely. You may need to book a longer stay in your holiday accommodation and cancel or reschedule flights and other travel bookings.

If you test positive, follow the recommendations for COVID-19 cases. 

Remember who you travelled with and close contacts during your time away. If you test positive to COVID-19, tell your close contacts.

If you have COVID-like symptoms or test positive, you should stay home for at least 5 days and until your symptoms have resolved, even if you test negative to COVID-19, to protect others from infection.

Other travel resources

For the most up to date information on international travel refer to the following:

COVID-19 Care Plans

It is important to have a plan in case you or anyone in your household gets COVID-19.

A COVID-19 Care plan includes important information about you and your health and details your plans for the care of your pets and other people in your care, should you need to go to hospital with COVID-19.

You can share your care plan with:

  • your GP
  • your family or support person
  • hospital staff and other health workers.

Resources

 

Last reviewed: 04-11-2022