COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus)

What is COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus)?

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new virus. Symptoms include fever, coughing, sore throat and shortness of breath. The virus can spread from person to person, but good hygiene can prevent infection. 


A 24/7 hotline has been set up to handle COVID-19 inquiries. The hotline can provide the latest updates on restrictions, cost of living assistance, financial support for businesses or rules around social distancing.

How does COVID-19 spread?

The virus can spread from person to person through:

  • close contact with an infectious person (including in the 24 hours before they started showing symptoms)

  • contact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze

  • touching objects or surfaces (like doorknobs or tables) that have cough or sneeze droplets from an infected person, and then touching your mouth or face

Latest statistics (updated 3 April 2020):

  • As at 1:00pm on 3 April 2020, there have been over 5,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia and 26 deaths.

  • NSW has 2,389 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (increas of 91 in 24 hours).

  • 42 are now in ICU (decrease of 1 in 24 hours), 22 require ventilators (increase of 2 in 24 hours).

  • Globally, there are over 1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19

  • 52,000 people around the world have died from the viral illness.

What are the symptoms?

  • A high temperature.

  • A  new and consistent cough (this means you are coughing repeatedly).

  • Sore throat.

  • Shortness of breath.

  • Body aches.

If you are unsure, use the healthdirect symptom checker.

What do I do?

If you develop a fever, a cough, sore throat or shortness of breath within 14 days of overseas travel, or after coming into close contact with a confirmed case, seek medical attention.

  • Call your GP

  • Visit an Emergency Department

  • Call HealthDirect on 1800 022 222

****If you experience severe symptoms and have trouble breathing, call 000 immediately****

You can also visit the NSW Health website for more information.



Need to talk to someone?

The National Coronavirus Help Line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

  • 1800 020 080

If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450.

Mental health

  • 24 hour mental health line operating in NSW: 1800 011 511

  • Lifeline: 13 11 14

  • Headspace online support  

  • Beyond Blue online support.

  • Parent line counselling service (parent support): 1300 1300 52

Even if you are well, and have had no known contact with a person with COVID-19, stay home.

  • Viruses cannot move on their own. People move viruses. 

  • Social distancing is one way to help slow the spread of viruses such as COVID-19.

  • If you must leave your home, keep a distance of 1.5 metres between you and other people.

  • Minimise contact especially with people at higher risk of developing serious symptoms, such as older people and people with existing health conditions

If you are ill, or have been told to self-isolate, you must stay at home.

Staying at home means you:

  • do not go to public places such as work, school, shopping centres, childcare or university

  • ask someone to get food and other necessities for you and leave them at your front door

  • do not let visitors in — only people who usually live with you should be in your home.

You do not need to wear a mask in your home. If you need to go out to seek medical attention, wear a surgical mask (if you have one) to protect others.

For more information, visit


How does COVID-19 spread?

Coronavirus is most likely to spread from person-to-person through:

  •       Direct close contact with a person while they are infectious or in the 24 hours before their symptoms appeared.

  •       Close contact with a person with a confirmed infection who coughs or sneezes.

  •       Touching objects or surfaces (such as door handles or tables) contaminated from a cough or sneeze from a person with a confirmed infection, and then touching your mouth or face.

Should I wear a face mask?

You do not need to wear a mask if you are healthy.


While the use of masks can help to prevent transmission of disease from infected patients to others, masks are not currently recommended for use by healthy members of the public for the prevention of infections like coronavirus.

What you need to know


We need to work together to help stop the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).  To protect people most at risk and slow the rate of community transmission:







  • People who have returned from anywhere overseas are required to self-isolate for 14 days. During this time, you should monitor your health closely.

  • If you develop symptoms including a fever and cough, you should seek medical attention, remembering to call ahead.

  • People who have been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus should also self-isolate, monitor their health and seek medical advice.

  • While coronavirus is of concern, it is important to remember that most people displaying symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat or tiredness are likely suffering with a cold or other respiratory illness – not coronavirus.

Information for parents and carers

The latest information and advice from the NSW Department of Education can be found here.

Financial assistance

Source: Services Australia


If you or your family have been financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, you can visit Services Australia.

To get a payment, you’ll need to meet all the eligibility rules including residence rules and income tests. 

You may get a payment in any of the following circumstances. These include if you’re:

  • not able to work or don’t have work

  • in isolation or hospitalised

  • caring for children.

You may get one of the following payments:


Other supports:

  • Cost of living measures offered by the NSW Government can be found here

  • Information on the Commonwealth Government's one-off economic support payment here

  • The Energy and Water Ombudsman has provided a list of resources here when you need help paying bills. 

  • The Australian Taxation Office can help if you are struggling to meet your taxation or superannuation obligations. Call 1800 806 218 or click here.

  • Fair Work has provided some information here on workplace laws and the COVID-19 epidemic. 

Important contacts from Business Australia:



Helpline for small businesses impacted by Coronavirus 13 28 46 Contact centre



Centrelink 13 24 68 Affected by coronavirus (COVID-19)
Currently experiencing high call volumes and long wait times. You may also be able to use one of the self service options.

Department of Home Affairs Current Alerts

Indigenous Business Australia 1800 107 107 Covid-19 Support 

Medicare 13 20 11 Health professionals

Tourism Australia 02 9360 1111 Coronavirus Information and Resources for Australia's Tourism Industry



AMP 1300 130 191 Experiencing financial hardship

ANZ 1800 252 845 Customer Connect

Arab Bank 1800 64 64 84 Hardship Assistance

Bank Australia 132 888 Contact Us

Bank of Sydney 13 95 00 Financial Hardship

BOQ 1800 079 866 Financial Hardship Assistance

Bank SA 1800 679 461 BankSA Assist

Bankwest 1300 769 173 Experiencing financial hardship

Bendigo and Adelaide Bank 1300 652 146 Financial difficulty assistance

Citibank 1800 722 879 Hardship assistance

Commonwealth Bank 1300 720 814 Emergency assistance

HSBC 1300 555 988 Financial difficulty

ING 1300 349 166 Financial Hardship

Macquarie Bank 1300 363 330 Financial Hardship

ME Bank 1300 500 520 ME Bank financial hardship

MyState 13 800 1 MyState financial hardship

NAB 1800 701 599 Financial Hardship

Rabobank 1800 025 484 Financial Hardship

Rural Bank 1800 660 115 Financial Hardship

St. George Bank 1800 629 795 St. George Assist

Suncorp Bank 1800 225 223 Suncorp Customer Assist

Westpac 132 142 Westpac Assist


Amaysim 1300 808 300 Supporting our Customers

Optus 13 39 37 Coronavirus Support

Telstra 13 20 00 Supporting you during Covid-19

TPG 1300 365 313 Customer Service

Virgin Mobile 1300 304 090 Financial Hardship Support

Vodafone 1300 728 649 Covid-19 Support


AGL 131 245 Customer and Community Support

Amaysim Energy Live Chat

Click Energy Live Chat

EnergyAustralia 13 34 66 Help and Support During Covid-19

Energy Locals 1300 693 637 Covid-19 Energy Support Plans

Hunter Water 1300 657 657 Payment Assistance

Origin Energy 13 24 61 Coronavirus Support

ReAmped Energy Request a call back, online or message service

Red Energy 131 806 Assistance

Simple Energy 13 88 08 Covid-19 Response

Sydney Water Billing: 13 14 50 BillAssist: 13 20 92 Sydney Water Account


AAMI 13 22 44 Covid-19 Information

Allianz 13 10 00 Covid-19 info

Bupa 13 41 35 Coronavirus updates

CGU 13 24 81 Customer Commitment

GIO 13 10 10 Covid-19 Information

HBF 13 34 23 Travel Insurance

NRMA 13 28 18 Coronavirus updates

QBE 1800 023 387 Covid-19 Alert

YOUI 13 96 84 Service

Financial support for businesses

  • Support for businesses including links to stimulus payments can be found here

  • NSW Government information for small businesses and workplaces (including advice on social distancing regulations) can be found here

  • Information and advice from the Small Business Commissioner can be found here.

  • The NSW Treasury has established a phone line and email address for NSW-based businesses to call and learn what types of support are available. Phone: 02 8222 4888 Email:

  • The Australian Tax Office has introduced a series of relief measures that can be accessed by calling 1800 806 218 or clicking here.

  • Payroll tax relief will be available from July and information accessible here.

  • Fair Work has provided some information here on workplace laws and the COVID-19 epidemic. 


​Flood and Storm Recovery Services


Disaster Welfare Assistance Line - 1800 018 444 - Provides disaster relief grants to eligible individuals and families whose homes have been significantly damaged or destroyed. Provide assistance for those with limited financial resources and no insurance. Website:

Commonwealth Government Disaster Recovery Allowance 1802 266 - Disaster Recovery Allowance is a short term payment to help you if a declared disaster directly affects your income. Website:


NSW Rural Assistance Authority - 1800 678 593 - Provides disaster-relief low-interest loans of up to $130,000 to eligible primary producers and small businesses, and transport subsidies of up to 50% of the cost to transport livestock or fodder, to eligible primary producers. This assistance is only available following the declaration of a Natural Disaster by the NSW Government. Website:


Farm Household Support - 132 316 - A payment for farming families facing hardship. Website: (search Farm Household Allowance)

Drought Assistance Services

Drought Assistance Fund - The NSW Government is offering a $50,000 interest-free loan to transport stock, fodder and water, genetic banking of breeding herds and installing on-farm fodder and water infrastructure. The loans term is seven years and there are no repayments required in the first two years: Website:

Farm Innovation Fund - 1800 678 593 - The NSW Government is offering a loan scheme for capital works up to a value of $1 million per project for infrastructure works (eg sheds, silos, water storage) to prepare for dry conditions, to build resilience and improve on-farm efficiency. Website:

Regional Investment Corporation Low Interest Loans

The Australian Government is offering low interest loans to help farmers prepare for, manage through and recover from drought. Website:


Current grants and assistance from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment: Website:

NSW Farmers’ Drought Network has launched a page to provide service information, links to assistance and services to individuals and families conducting, directly or indirectly, primary production businesses, who are being impacted by drought conditions in NSW. Website:


The Australian Government has released an information pack titled "Drought in Australia", which contains information about available assistance for individuals, families, farms and communities in drought regions. To learn more, visit

Bushfire Assistance Services

NSW Bushfires - September 2019 - Australian Disaster Recovery Payment: Support for eligible people adversely affected by the bushfires in NSW in August 2019 through to February 2020. Website:

National Bushfire Recovery Agency: Connecting people with the assistance they need - relief, recovery, regenerate. Website:

Bushfire customer care service - Assistance for bushfire-affected communities. NSW Government is delivering bushfire recovery assistance to help people and businesses impacted by bushfires. Website:

Disaster Relief Grants, from the Office of Emergency Management, can provide disaster relief grants to eligible individuals and families whose homes and essential household contents have been damaged or destroyed by a disaster. To apply, call Disaster Welfare on 1800 018 444.

Legal Assistance and Consumer Services

Law Access NSW - 1300 888 529 - To provide free legal advice on a broad range of issues including dealing with insurance companies, mortgage payments and tenancy advice.


Legal Aid - 02 9219 5093 - Dedicated legal assistance for disaster affected residents


NSW Fair Trading - 13 32 30 - Provide assistance and advice to consumers and business on fair and ethical practice


Primary Producers

Local Land Services - 1800 814 657 Provides advice and assistance on livestock health, welfare and disease, pastures, feed and stock options, invasive pest control and property planning as well as advice on natural resource management including riverbank erosion. An extension of Local Land Services rates is also available.


NSW Rural Assistance Authority - 1800 678 593 Provides disaster relief low interest loans of up to $130,000 to eligible primary producers and small businesses and transport subsidies of up to 50% of the cost to transport livestock or fodder, to eligible primary producers. This assistance is only available following the declaration of a Natural Disaster by the NSW Government.

Agricultural and Animal Services Hotline - 1800 814 647 Emergency assistance for land and livestock and reporting natural disaster damage. Call the Hotline to report damage and stock losses and request assistance with emergency fodder and stock water, veterinary assistance, stock destruction and burial, livestock feeding and management advice and assistance for companion animals, pets and wildlife.

This includes all primary producers including but not limited to assistance for beekeepers, horticulture, aquaculture, oyster growers & forestry. Also includes all animals including pets, wildlife and fisheries.



FACS Housing Services - 1300 468 746 Housing assistance and financial assistance for eligible clients to help them set up or maintain a tenancy in the private rental market. Including Rentstart Bond Assistance.

Hume Community Housing - 9722 4300 - Housing options including temporary accommodation, private rentals, social housing and affordable housing. Website:

Link2Home - 1800 152 152 - Can assist with emergency temporary accommodation to approved clients.


Health and Wellbeing

NSW Rural Mental Health - 1800 201 123 Provides access to local mental health services


Australian Red Cross - 1800 812 028 Provides outreach (door knocking) ensuring that communities have current informatoin on the services and support available to them and linking people with services.


NSW DPI Rural Resilience Program - 0427 188 643 Provides information and support for farming families and referral to appropriate support services including financial counselling.


Birth, Death and Marriage Certificates, Work Cover and Drivers Licenses

Services NSW - 137 788 Will replace certificates and drivers licenses at no cost to those affected by the floods


WorkCover NSW - 13 10 50 Will replace licenses at no cost to those affected by the floods.


Motor Vehicles

Office of State Revenue - 1300 139 814 - Motorists whose cars have been written off as a result of the floods, may be eligible for stamp duty relief on their replacement vehicles. Conditions apply. This assistance is only available following the declaration of a Natural Disaster by the NSW Government.


Maitland Community Directory

Maitland Neighbourhood Centre - 4932 0950

Maitland City Council - 4934 9700 

SES Floodsafe Website

Centrelink Maitland - 131 021

RSPCA Maitland - 4939 1500