COVID-19 Fact Sheet for the Elderly

BABS’ Virologist and Professor Peter White and colleagues have put together a flyer to provide straight-forward guidelines to help the elderly stay safe during the COVID-19 outbreak. Please pass this flyer around.

| 18 Mar 2020


The virus is typically spread in droplets when some­one coughs or sneezes.

  • To infect you, the virus needs to travel from the throat and lungs of the infected person to you.
  • The virus can infect you if it gets into your nose, eyes, mouth, throat or lungs.
  • Droplets don’t remain suspended in the air for more than a minute or two.

The virus can remain on surfaces for up to 24 hours.

  • Touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your face can spread the virus to you.




2 meters


  • Remain at a distance (about 6 ft/2 m) from people. You shouldn’t get infected if you are walking around or sitting on a bench if you are at least this far away from people.
  • Stay away from anyone coughing or sneezing, and don’t get too close to people talking.
  • Stay away from crowded areas where you are forced into close spaces with people (e.g. bus­es, trains, lifts).


  • Avoid touching surfaces or shaking hands with people.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth if you have touched surfaces that other people may have contaminated.
  • Wash your hands frequently. Soap and water (for 20 secs) or hand sanitisor will kill the virus.
  • If washing hands in a public place, avoid con­taminating your hands after by touching sur­faces e.g. the door to the bathroom.




to do
  • Don’t go out more than necessary

  • Stock up on medications, toiletries and longer life foods.

  • Consider buying vitamin C, D and B12 supple­ments, as packaged foods can be low in vita­mins.

  • Get things delivered and left at your door to avoid contact.

  • Avoid using cash, use contactless payment in­stead.

  • Do gentle exercises, like walking, in areas that are not crowded. This is good for immunity.

  • Have people to call for help and advice.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help for things that you need.

  • Have the phone numbers ready for key friends and family members.

do and dont




  • A continuous cough (repeated coughing, not just a few coughs)

  • A high temperature (shivers or fever)

  • Feels like you have the flu and are feeling too weak to go about daily activities

  • Muscle aches and pains

  • Headaches

  • Tiredness

  • Dizziness


shopping guide


To save this fact sheet to your device or print, download the PDF:





If you have any of these symptoms, call 1800 022 222 or a GP.

Call 000 for an ambulance if you are having serious difficulty breathing.



Dr Dan Deere, Microbiologist, Water Futures Ltd. Pty.

Professor Peter White, Professor in Microbiology, UNSW

Emma Harding, PhD Candidate, UNSW