COVID-19 Corona Virus

Updated 31 Mar 2020

COVID-19 Hotlines

If you have serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, call 000 for urgent medical help.
  • Australia National Coronavirus Helpline: 1800 020 080 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
  • New Zealand COVID-19 Healthline: 0800 358 5453 
  • Hong Kong SAR Centre for Health Protection Hotline: 2125 1111 / 2125 1122 (8 am to 12 midnight)

RACDS Recommendations - COVID-19

The Board of Directors has been closely monitoring the emerging situation regarding COVID-19.

There has been much information from governments, regulators and associations from around the world.

In distilling this information for protection of all dental practitioners, staff and the public at large, the dental profession needs to be active and leading these protective and safety measures.

RACDS recommends:

1. Postgraduate and undergraduate dental and all oral health students should not be put on the front line. Clinical activities involving students should cease with immediate effect.
2. All dentists and other personnel in the dental practice over the age of 60, or with one or more co-morbidities, should not be involved with front line services and should cease clinical activities.[¹] Likewise all patients over the age of 60 or with one or more co-morbidities should receive appropriate emergency care only.
3. All dental practices should plan for closure as the risk increases and the need for isolation widens.

This pandemic can only be controlled with significant input from all of society. In certain areas transmission based precautions including special Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be a requirement.

In these difficult times we need to stay well in order to provide essential emergency treatments. This extends to our all-round wellbeing and we encourage you to reach out to your colleagues during the months ahead.

Support available

If any member of the College community would like to have their contact details shared with others within our community for the purposes of emotional and moral support, or simply collegiality, please contact and provide your preferred contact method and permission to share your details. All contact details will be kept strictly confidential and shared only with those opting in to this service. Our previous message of “are you alright?” applies even more now – and we will be here for any of our members in need.

All the very best.

RACDS Board of Directors    

*Please note these recommendations:
Are only current at this time, and may be revised or updated at any time in the future
Are a general outline, and may not be applicable to all clinical situations such as some areas of specialist practice
Are a general outline, and as the RACDS has a global reach, there will be particular further considerations in specific geographic locations that should be considered in conjunction with these College recommendations

Members are encouraged to seek further clarification about clinical practice from Associations, Academies and government health authorities in their local geographic situation to assist them with decisions about clinical practice.

COVID-19 Key Facts

The information listed below contains extracts from various reputable sources. For further information, please visit the websites listed under our Useful Links section.

“Older people (60+ years of age, or 50+ for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples) are more susceptible to getting sick with COVID-19 (coronavirus). The risk of serious illness, and in some reported cases death, increases with age, particularly those who have chronic illnesses or who may have a weakened immune system.”
Read more on Fact Sheet: for older australians on COVID-19

COVID-19 Risk Factors

1. [¹]The highest risk factor for increasing severity of the infection is age. Case fatality increases significantly after age 60 and peaks at around 15% for those over 80 years of age.

2. Children can contract the virus, however they are more likely to be asymptomatic or to have only mild symptoms.

3. Co-morbidities that appear to be associated with susceptibility include:

  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease

4. There appears to be a correlation between smoking status and infection susceptibility.

Read more

Number of confirmed cases in Australia

As at 6:30am on 31 March 2020, there have been 4,359 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia. There have been 266 new cases since 6:30am yesterday.

Of the 4,359 confirmed cases in Australia, 18 have died from COVID-19. More than 230,000 tests have been conducted across Australia.


Location Confirmed cases*

Australian Capital Territory


New South Wales


Northern Territory




South Australia






Western Australia



  • * Note that under National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System reporting requirements, cases are reported based on their Australian jurisdiction of residence rather than where they were detected. For example, a case reported previously in the NT in a NSW resident is counted in the national figures as a NSW case.
  • ** Includes Diamond Princess repatriation cases: Qld (3), SA (1), Vic (4), WA (2, including 1 death)
*Source: Australian Government Department of Health 

This graph shows the number of confirmed cases by notification date. Interpret the most recently reported new cases shown in the graph with caution as there can be delays in reporting.

*Source: National Notifiable Disease Surveillance System (NNDSS), and Australian Government Department of Health

COVID-19 mortality rate by age

*Source: Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention

Advice for healthcare professionals

Testing for COVID-19 is recommended for:

  • travellers from overseas with onset of respiratory symptoms or fever within 14 days of return
  • close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases with respiratory symptoms or fever within 14 days of last contact
  • healthcare workers with recent onset of respiratory symptoms and fever irrespective of travel history. Healthcare workers who have fever or respiratory symptoms should be assessed for testing on a case by case basis.
  • patients admitted to hospital with acute respiratory illness or unexplained fever
  • patients with acute respiratory illness or fever in high risk settings such as hospitals, aged care facilities, residential care facilities, boarding schools, cruise ships
  • patients with acute respiratory illness or fever presenting with reported links to settings where COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred
  • patients with unexplained respiratory symptoms or fever in Aboriginal rural and remote communities.
Read more advice for health professionals

How to avoid Coronavirus

You can protect yourself and help prevent spreading the virus to others if you:


Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub
Cover your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue or flexed elbow when you cough or sneeze
Avoid close contact (1 metre or 3 feet) with people who are unwell
Stay home and self-isolate from others in the household if you feel unwell
Touch your eyes, nose, or mouth if your hands are not clean

Read more on WHO advice