The overall aim of infection control measures is to minimise the risk of exposure to the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19); reducing transmission, infections and illness.
Effective infection control is best achieved by applying a combination of:
- Individual measures;
- Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE); and
- Organisational and environmental measures.
Infection control measures are essential in healthcare settings. It is also helpful to encourage individuals within the community to use certain measures to reduce their risk of exposure, or to reduce the likelihood of those with the disease transmitting it to others.
Advice from Australian Government Department of Health
- Coronavirus Health Information Line: Tel 1800 020 080, and
- Coronavirus information and resources on how COVID-19 spreads, who is at risk, prevention, diagnosis and home isolation in several languages.
The Australian Government Department of Health has also produced an Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus (the COVID-19 Plan), which provides an overview of the national approach and an operational plan.
In addition, the Healthdirect hotline is 1800 022 222 and a range of information is provided at https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/coronavirus
Advice from the Commission and the National Health and Medical Research Council
Healthcare workers and health service organisations should follow the recommendations of the Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare (the AICGs) and directions, and advice from their state and territory health departments.
The AICGs contain specific guidance on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at section 3. The sequences for putting on and removing PPE are available for download.
Further information on the Application of Transmission-based Precautions is also available in section 3 of the AICGs.
For information on Outbreak Investigation and Management, refer to section 3.4.2 (pp.149-160)
Advice from the World Health Organization
The World Health Organization has developed the following videos and posters on how to how to use alcohol-based hand-rub and how to wash your hands:
- How to hand rub (video)
- How to hand rub (poster)
- How to wash hands (video)
- How to wash hands (poster)
It is essential to maintain good hygiene in order to prevent infection. In the community and at home, wash your hands well with plain soap and water and dry thoroughly. You can use soap and hand-wash, or you can use your body wash, if that is more available.
The Commission encourages you to wash your hands frequently, and cover your mouth when you are coughing with a tissue which is discarded, or cough into your elbow.
Non-healthcare settings: use of non-alcohol based hand rub
The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care recommends hand hygiene in non-healthcare settings be performed using of soap and water and thorough drying of hands. Where access to soap and water is not available, an alcohol-based hand rub (also known as alcohol-based sanitiser) is recommended. Soap and water and alcohol-based hand rub contain compounds that are active against viruses such as COVID-19.
Non-alcohol based hand rubs are not recommended for use, as there is limited evidence available to support their effectiveness in reducing the bioburden on hands. In particular, non-alcohol based hand rub preparations containing quaternary ammonium compounds should be avoided, as current evidence indicates that these compounds have limited activity against viruses such as COVID-19.
For information on local arrangements in your state or territory, such as COVID-19 testing clinics and management of concerned healthcare workers, visit your state or territory health department website: