Feeling Unwell?

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

The main symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, sore throat and shortness of breath.

Less common symptoms are loss of smell, loss of taste, runny nose, muscle pain, joint pain, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite.

For more information, see our factsheet on identifying the symptoms of COVID-19.

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.

COVID-19 is a new disease, so there is no existing immunity in our community. This means that COVID-19 could spread widely and quickly.

How long do symptoms take to develop?

Symptoms can develop between 2 to 14 days after exposure. However, symptoms will usually develop 5 or 6 days after you are exposed to the virus.

This is why it’s important to self-isolate for 14 days if you come into contact with someone who is diagnosed.

What should I do if symptoms develop?

Seek medical attention if you develop symptoms that could indicate COVID-19. The main symptoms are fever, cough, sore throat and shortness of breath.

Less common symptoms are loss of smell, loss of taste, runny nose, muscle pain, joint pain, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite.

Anyone who has a fever (38 degrees or higher) or a respiratory infection (such as a cough, sore throat or shortness of breath) can be tested for COVID-19 in the ACT.

In addition, people who have sudden onset of loss of smell, loss of taste, runny nose, muscle pain, joint pain, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite may be eligible for COVID-19 testing, after assessment by a health professional.

This is to increase surveillance of the disease in the ACT.

If you develop any of these symptoms, please call your GP or visit a Respiratory Assessment Clinic .

When travelling to and from your home for testing, do not attend any public places, such as shops or cafes/restaurants, on the way. If possible, you should travel using a private mode of transport, such as a private car, to minimise exposure to others.

If public transport, rideshare or taxi is your only travel option, you must wear a mask (if you have one), avoid direct contact with other people (including other passengers, drivers and transport staff), cough/sneeze into your elbow, and wash your hands before and after you travel.

Note: All people who are tested for COVID-19 should self-isolate until they receive a negative test result.

If you have serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, chest pain or a severe fever call triple zero (000).

For more information on getting tested see our Getting tested advice.

acknowledgement icon
Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the ACT, the Ngunnawal people. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.

Last Updated: May 08 2020