Protecting Your Health

Symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • sore/scratchy throat
  • shortness of breath

Other reported symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • loss of smell
  • loss of taste
  • runny nose
  • muscle pain
  • joint pain
  • diarrhoea
  • nausea/vomiting
  • loss of appetite

In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia with severe acute respiratory distress.

Anyone with respiratory symptoms (such as cough, sore/scratchy throat or shortness of breath) or unexplained fever should be tested for COVID-19.

People without symptoms do not require testing, except in special circumstances

Find a COVID-19 testing clinic here and for more information about COVID-19 symptoms and testing visit the NSW Health website.

  • If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, even mild symptoms, you should be tested for COVID-19. Find a COVID-19 testing clinic hereYou should isolate yourself in a room away from others while waiting for your test results.
  • Students and staff who are unwell with acute respiratory symptoms must not attend the University.
  • If you would like to speak with someone about your symptoms you can call the National Coronavirus 24-hour Helpline on 1800 020 080. If you require translating or interpreting services call 131 450.
  • Overseas students can also call the Medibank OSHC Health and Support Line on 1800 887 283.
  • NSW Health has arranged for medical fees to be waived and covered for any international student who seeks treatment in relation to COVID-19.
  • For more information about COVID-19 symptoms and testing visit the NSW Health website.
  • For health concerns other than COVID-19, NSW Health has a free helpline, Health Direct, at 1800 022 222. Registered nurses are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide advice when you’re not sure what to do. (Calls are free from a landline; charges may apply from a mobile phone). 

You must self-isolate if you have:

NSW Health has a series of home isolation guides.

  • If you are a traveller returning to Australia after 28 March, you will be required to undertake mandatory 14-day self-isolation at designated facilities (e.g. a hotel).
  • Yes – You will be asked for the details of your Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) if you attend a doctor, medical centre or hospital.
  • Go here for more information on OSHC.
  • UNSW’s preferred OSHC provider is Medibank.

Currently, Australian public health guidelines do not recommend general face mask use unless people are unwell.

The use of face masks in public may help to reduce the spread of the infection when there is significant community transmission but currently community transmission in NSW is very low.

However, UNSW acknowledges and respects any persons right to wear a mask if they so choose.

There are also some circumstances where you may wish to consider the use of a non-medical mask including when:

  • visiting or working in confined, closed spaces e.g. labs, media rooms 
  • visiting busy crowded areas e.g. grocery stores, shopping centres
  • using public transport, etc.

For these circumstances, non-medical masks such as cloth masks should be considered. (The use of medical masks should be reserved for use by health care workers)

Importantly, the use of face masks should only be considered as a complementary measure and not as a replacement for established preventive measures, for example physical distancing, good respiratory etiquette, meticulous hand hygiene and avoiding touching the face, nose, eyes and mouth. 

The Australian government has launched the COVIDSafe app to speed up contacting people exposed to COVID-19 and help stop the spread of the virus. You can read more about the COVIDSafe app here.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends individuals:     

Wash your hands frequently

  • Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitiser with at least 60% alcohol

Practise food safety

  • Use different chopping boards and knives for raw and cooked food
  • Wash your hands before, during and after food preparation, and between handling raw and cooked food
  • Wipe down benches and tables after use with alcohol-based disinfectant wipes

Practise respiratory hygiene

  • Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue, then dispose of the used tissue immediately
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth

Maintain social distancing

  • Stay at home if you feel unwell
  • Avoid close contact (within 1.5 metre distance for at least 15 minutes) with people who are ill

Please observe and comply with health-related signage around the University and hospitals

UNSW is providing support to students who are concerned via The Nucleus (+61 2 9385 8500) or China Call Centre (+86 21 6288 9885 or +86 21 6288 9886). Support is also available via our Student Support Advisors or International Student Advisors.



How you can protect your health