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COVID-19: The Facts

Sonder   |   Apr 3, 2020 9:00:00 AM
Person using hand sanitiser
Image Credit: Kelly Sikkema

Sonder utilises trusted and credible sources to be able to share precise, consolidated information about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) with our partners, members and international students enrolled in universities and colleges across Australia and NZ who may be otherwise be unsure who to turn to for help. Our sources include the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and other government agencies to ensure the information we provide to you is accurate.

Staying at home saves lives

You can help stop the spread of the virus:
  • Distancing slows the spread of COVID-19
  • The virus spreads mainly through coughs and sneezes
  • You’ll help protect essential resources for the sickest patients
Source: www.who.int

How are Australia and New Zealand responding to the outbreak of COVID-19?

Whilst cases of the COVID-19 global pandemic are increasing in Australia and New Zealand, only a small percent of the population has had a positive diagnosis.
The Australian government has declared that restrictions on social gatherings and further restrictions on non-essential facilities - petrol stations, supermarkets, banks, pharmacies, freight and logistics and home delivery services are among those deemed essential. You can find specific information on the closures and restrictions here. From midnight on the 30th March, social gatherings have been restricted to two people. If you live in a home with more than two people, you are permitted to spend time as a group outside of the home.
As of 21:00 on 20th March 2020, Australia has closed the borders to non-residents and non-Australian citizens. The Prime Minister of Australia has recommended that people planning to travel to Australia should consider making alternative arrangements. New Zealand also implemented this change as of the 19th March.
As of 00:00 on 16th March 2020, all residents and citizens entering Australia & New Zealand are required to self-isolate for 14 days. This means that you'll need to remain in your accomodation for two weeks. If you find yourself in this position, please scroll to the bottom to find out more on how Sonder can support you during this time.
The state of Victoria has declared a public state of emergency, effective from 12pm on the 16th March, 2020.
WA, QLD NT & SA have closed their borders to non-essential travel. ACT has urged all non-essential travel into surrounding NSW to be postponed.
All Australians have been banned from travelling overseas.
New Zealand have set their alert level at 4 - Eliminate. You can find out more about alert levels here.
Sources you can rely on:
  • Members in Australia can download the “Coronavirus Australia” government app in the Apple App Store or Google Play
  • The John Hopkins live map of recoveries, cases and fatalities.
  • Facebook have launched a summary of all the key information and is country specific
  • If you are feeling worried or anxious about COVID-19 there are steps you can take. Find out more at Head to Health's COVID‑19 support page.
  • Join the Australian Government WhatsApp channel on iOS or Android.
  • The WHO has created a dedicated resource with information updates in a daily basis.
  • The Department Home Affairs have listed all travel restrictions here.
  • The Australian Department of Health has been updating their webpage daily with preventative measures, restrictions and advice.
  • For those based in New Zealand, the Ministry of Health has issued health advice cards, which are available here. These cards provide general advice on symptoms of concern. 

What can I do to help prevent infection?

In a bid to keep up healthy habits and personal hygiene (wherever in the world you are), the World Health Organisation recommends that you:

  • Maintain "social distancing" and stay outside of a 1.5m radius of other people
  • Stay at home should you feel unwell or anyone in your immediate environment (partner/housemate) shows any suggestive symptoms
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
  • Cover your nose and mouth while coughing and sneezing with a tissue or your flexed elbow
  • Avoid close contact with anyone with cold and flu-like symptoms
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
  • Avoid consumption of raw or undercooked animal products

What if I suspect I am infected?

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention advises that coronavirus symptoms are:

  • runny nose
  • headache
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • fever
  • a general feeling of being unwell

If you notice one or more of these symptoms, avoid contact with others, you can "swipe for help" in the Sonder app should you want to discuss your symptoms and find the appropriate course of action.

Alternatively, in Australia, contact your GP or call HealthDirect, and advise them of your symptoms and travel history. 

For those of you in New Zealand, call Healthline (for free) on 0800 611 116 and be sure to refer to your travel history.

Feeling anxious, worried, or have concerns about your mental health?

We understand this can be a stressful time. It is OK to feel anxious or concerned. If these feelings are overwhelming, if you have thoughts about hurting yourself or committing suicide, or if you just want to talk to someone, there are many places for you to get support, confidentially. 

In Australia, contact one of these National- 24 hr advice &  support services:

  • Health Direct 1800 022 222
  • Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
  • Lifeline 13 11 14
  • Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 (under 25 yrs, parent & teachers)

In New Zealand, you can contact: 

  • Healthline  0800 611 116
  • Lifeline 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE)
  • Need to talk? Text 1737 anytime or free call 0800 1737 1737 (if calling through a switchboard)
  • Depression Helpline 0800 111 757 or free text 4202
  • Samaritans 0800 726 666
  • Healthpoint NZ healthcare providers
  • Maori Health Provider Directory

Children & Youth

  • Youthline 0800 376 633 or free text 234, email talk@youthline.co.nz or webchat www.youthline.co.nz (webchat is only available from 7pm-11pm) for children, youth, parents, whanau & friends
  • Kidsline 0800 543 754 (0800 KIDSLINE)
  • What’s Up 0800 942 8787 (0800 WHATSUP) or webchat www.whatsup.co.nz  (webchat is only available 5pm-10pm for 5-18yr olds)
  • The Lowdown www.thelowdown.co.nz or free text 5626
How can Sonder help our members?
  • Members can contact Sonder 24/7 with any issue related to their physical health, wellbeing, mental health or other concerns about coronavirus. Contact us via phone or live chat in-app, or swipe for help in the app. We can help you check your symptoms, refer you to the most appropriate care, or simply provide you emotional support. 
  • We have a team dedicated to sourcing intelligence - some of which is not publicly available, meaning we discard rumours and misinformation. You can be confident that the information we relay to you here is correct.
  • All of our Support Centre staff are Mental Health First Aid trained, multilingual, and can provide you with all the necessary support to find the help that is right for you.
  • We can provide in-person support, through our network of former and off duty emergency services and other highly trained staff. Our Liaison Officers are provided with standard personal protective equipment (PPE), and are able to provide supplies if needed, including food and toiletries, or over the counter medications that have been recommended by your GP.

If you have any concerns, need guidance in finding a healthcare provider, or your mental wellbeing is being impacted this event,  contact Sonder by swiping for help in your Sonder app.