COVID-19 and Parkinson’s
This page was updated on 25 November at 2.48pm. This advice will be updated as new information becomes available.
The coronavirus (or COVID-19) situation has affected our lives and society for months now. Still the situation continues to evolve, so our ongoing priority is supporting people living with Parkinson’s, their families and caregivers amid these challenging times.
This page is intended to be a one-stop reference point giving you access to the facts and information that is relevant to you. Please bookmark this page as we will be updating the information regularly.
The Parkinson’s NSW specialist care team is here to support you by calling 1800 644 189 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
We will continue to update our website as new information becomes available.
What you need to know
- There are a total of 4,359 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in NSW. For the first time since the pandemic began, no COVID-19 patients are on respirators. Read more.
- Queensland will ease its border restrictions allowing residents from Greater Sydney to enter the state from 1 December. Visitors from New South Wales will no longer be required to quarantine for 14 days when entering Queensland.
- The NSW Government reopened its border with Victoria on November 23
- From Tuesday, 1 December, up to 30 people will be able to visit a home — an increase from 20 people.
- Up to 50 people will be able to gather outdoors in a public space. Previously this was 30 people.
- Small hospitality venues of up to 200 square metres in size will be allowed to have one person per 2 square metres indoors, up to a maximum of 50 customers. (This doubles the amount of customers venues will be able to accommodate).
- The public health order requiring employers to allow employees to work from home will be repealed as of 14 December.
- Up to 3,000 people can now gather for outdoor ticketed events (such as concerts) and up to 500 people can attend outdoor church services. The two square metre rule applies if people are sitting in chairs and the four square metre rule applies if people are sitting on rugs or in a group.
- With Christmas approaching, up to 30 choir singers can now perform outside but only five are allowed to perform indoors.
- All congregants at religious services can participate in singing, but those over the age of 12 must wear face masks.
- On 6 November, Tasmania re-opened its borders to travellers from NSW. There will be no need for quarantine by NSW visitors on arrival in the island state.
- Western Australia is easing some border restrictions. The strict border restrictions requiring people to have a special reason to travel to Western Australia have been scrapped. However, NSW and Victorian travellers entering WA will be required to self-quarantine for a fortnight and take a Coronavirus test on Day 11.
- The NSW Government is maintaining a list of locations which require self-isolation and testing if you have been there. If you have been to any of these locations, you need to self-isolate for 14 days since you were there and get tested.
- When to wear a mask: Wearing masks on public transport and other locations is not yet mandatory in NSW. However, introduction of this regulation was being considered by the Government early in September. Here is the latest NSW Government advice on when and where masks should be worn.
- In view of the re-emergence of COVID-19 hot-spots in this state, the NSW Government has restated the following advice:
- However, if you are over 70 or have a pre-existing medical condition, you should limit the number of visitors to your home and take care at all times. Here is more advice for people aged 70 years and over.
- People who are at higher risk of COVID-19 infection include:
- People aged 65 years and over with chronic medical conditions
- People with a compromised immune system
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 50 years and older with one or more chronic medical conditions.
If you are in one of these groups, follow the guidance for vulnerable people.
- NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced COVID-19 restrictions introduced to pubs will be extended to restaurants, bars, cafes and clubs as of 24 July. The restrictions include limiting bookings to a maximum of 10 people.
- Weddings and corporate events will be limited to 150 people, subject to the four square metre rule.
- Funerals and places of worship will be limited to 100 people.
- The Queensland Government has announced that – due to NSW COVID-19 outbreaks – it has closed its borders to 77 Sydney suburbs in the Liverpool and Campbelltown Local Government Areas. It has also closed its borders to all travellers from Victoria
- The Northern Territory Government has declared all 30 Sydney Local Government Areas to be coronavirus hot-spots. That means people who have been in Sydney within 14 days of their arrival in the Territory will be subject to a fortnight of supervised quarantine at a cost of $2,500 if they wish to enter.
- Previously announced restrictions and changes which remain unchanged include:
- The NSW-Victoria border is closed because Victoria’s second surge in COVID-19 infections has intensified.
- Indoor venues including cafes, restaurants, pubs and function spaces can open – as long as patrons remain seated and follow the four square metre rule. (Also see above for additional restrictions imposed on pubs as of today).
- A maximum of 10,000 fans are allowed to fill stadiums for sporting or cultural events, while both children’s and adults’ community sports have resumed.
- Outdoor tourism and entertainment activities may re-open with permission. The Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, Luna Park and the Blue Mountain’s Scenic World are all open.
- Ice-skating rinks, museums, galleries, libraries and cinemas can re-open – but are all subject to the four square metre rule.
- Nightclubs must remain closed and music festivals may not take place.
- Other rules that continue to apply include:
- NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said, “Without a vaccine, we need to be vigilant, especially when restrictions lift. There will inevitably be more cases, so social distancing will become even more crucial.” Therefore it is still important to remain at home unless you are going to:
- Work (where you can’t work remotely)
- School or an educational institution
- Shop for food or other goods and services
- Medical reason or caring for others
- Here is what you can and can’t do under current NSW Government Public Health Orders.
- International travel is still not permitted.
- Most NSW people are now free to visit Queensland and the ACT. The exception is that people living in the Liverpool and Campbelltown Local Government Areas will not be permitted to enter Queensland
When should I see my doctor?
The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 can have a range of symptoms (from no symptoms at all to pneumonia).
Symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- sore throat
- difficulty breathing
- muscle pain (myalgia)
- joint pain
- loss of sense of smell (anosmia)
- distortion the of sense of taste (dysgeusia)
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, use the healthdirect Symptom Checker to find out what to do next.
Help slow the spread of COVID-19
It is important to:
- Follow the rules about visiting other households, self-isolation and quarantine
- Practise good hand hygiene and physical distancing
- Take extra care if you’re around vulnerable people
- Get tested if you have any symptoms and stay home while you are waiting for test results.
Smartphone applications available for Coronavirus information and protection
The Australian Government Department of Health has released two smartphone applications (apps) to help citizens and the Government cope with the pandemic.
Coronavirus Australia Application
In March 2020, the Australian Government launched the Coronavirus Australia application.
The purpose of this application (app) is to provide you with timely, verified updates on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) including:
- Official information and advice
- Important health advice to help stop the spread and stay healthy
- Quick snapshots of the current official status within Australia
- Ability to check your symptoms if you are concerned about yourself or someone else
- Relevant contact information
- Updated information from the Australian Government
- Notifications of urgent information and updates
This is an informational application only. It does not track your location.
- Download here if you have an Android phone (for example a Samsung, Huawei or Sony brand)
- Download here if you have an Apple phone (for example an iPhone)
The COVIDSafe Application was launched by the Australian Government in April.
The purpose of the COVIDSafe application (app) is to slow the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). It tracks the telephone user so the Government can identify and contain virus outbreaks quickly. This in turn will allow the easing of restrictions while still keeping Australians safe.
The new COVIDSafe app is completely voluntary.
It speeds up the current manual process of finding people who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19. This means you’ll be contacted more quickly if you are at risk. This reduces the chances of you passing on the virus to your family, friends and other people in the community.
State and territory health officials can only access app information if someone tests positive and agrees to the information in their phone being uploaded. Health officials can only use the app information to help alert those who may need to quarantine or get tested.
The COVIDSafe app is the only contact trace app approved by the Australian Government.
- Watch this video to learn how to use the COVIDSafe application.
- Go here to learn more about your privacy when using the application.
At the end of the Australian COVID-19 pandemic, users will be prompted to delete the COVIDSafe app from their phone.
This will delete all app information on a person’s phone. The information contained in the information storage system will also be destroyed at the end of the pandemic.
- Download COVIDSafe here if you have an Android phone (for example a Samsung, Huawei or Sony brand)
- Download COVIDSafe here if and Apple phone (for example an Apple iPhone)
Warning: There are some mischievous text messages circulating about COVIDSafe. If you receive anything like the following, ignore it:
Good progress made by NSW in managing COVID-19 infections
New South Wales is making excellent progress in managing the COVID-19 pandemic. See the number of tests conducted and low rates of COVID-19 infections detected in your Local Health Districts (LHDs) and Local Government Areas (LGAs) here.
How is it spread?
The virus is most likely spread person-to-person through:
- Direct close contact with a person while they are infectious or 24 hours before their symptoms appeared
- Close contact with a person with a confirmed infection who coughs or sneezes
- Touching objects or surfaces (such as doorknobs and handles) contaminated by a cough or sneeze from an infectious person
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms include fever, coughing, sore throat, fatigue, and shortness of breath.
If you have serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing, call 000 for urgent medical help.
How can we prevent the spread?
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and dispose of it in the bin, and wash your hands
- If you feel unwell, avoid contact with others (stay 1.5m apart from people)
How to wash your hands properly
What is social distancing?
The more space between you and others, the harder it is for the virus to spread.
Steps for social distancing in all homes include:
- stay at home unless going out is absolutely necessary
- keep visitors to a minimum
- reduce visits to the shops — instead, buy more goods and services online if you can for pick-up, pre-order or delivery
- carefully consider what travel and outings are necessary, both individual and family
- regularly disinfect surfaces that are touched a lot, such as tables, kitchen benches and doorknobs
- increase ventilation in the home by opening windows or adjust air conditioning
Read the full social distancing guidance from the Department of Health here
For most people, coronavirus is a mild disease with a quick recovery. But for older Australians, it can be more serious.
Together, we can help stop the spread and stay healthy.
What does isolation in your home mean?
If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, you must stay home to prevent it spreading to other people
- Do NOT go to public places such as work, school, shopping centres or university
- Ask a family member or friend to get food and other essentials and leave them at your door
- Do NOT let visitors in – only people who usually live with you should be in your home
What if I develop symptoms?
If you develop symptoms (fever, a cough, sore throat, tiredness or shortness of breath) within 14 days of arriving in Australia, or within 14 days of last contact of a confirmed case, you should arrange to see your doctor for urgent assessment.
It is imperative that you:
- Contact your GP’s office BEFORE you arrive to let them know if you have been overseas or in contact with someone who has been confirmed to have COVID-19
- You must isolate yourself either in your home, hotel or health care setting until authorities have informed you it is safe for you to return to usual activities
- If you have any questions, contact the InfoLine on 1800 644 189 or call the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080
Who is at most risk?
- People with a compromised immune system (e.g. cancer patients)
- Elderly people
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, as they have a higher rate of chronic illness
- People with chronic medical conditions (e.g. lung or heart disease)
- People in group residential settings
- People in detention facilities
Should I wear a mask?
World Health Organisation recommendations on wearing a face mask:
- If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with Coronavirus (COVID-19).
- However, wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
- Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly. See directions here.
What more can I do?
- Be kind to one another
- Stay connected through phone calls, text messages and social media
- Stay active
- Follow the information supplied by reliable sources
- Social distancing doesn’t need to mean social isolation
For the latest advice, information and resources:
- National Coronavirus Help Line 1800 020 080. It operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you require translating or interpreting services, call 131 450
- Your state or territory health agency. Contact details are available at www.health.gov.au/state-territory-contacts
- If you have concerns about your health, speak to your doctor (call before attending)
- Parkinson’s related information or advice call Parkinson’s NSW InfoLine 1800 644 189
- Australian Govt landing page which is frequently updated on COVID-19, Visit here.
- Australian Government Dept of Health daily status update visit here
- Australian Government Dept of Health on how to protect yourself and others visit here
- ACCC advice for consumers during COVID-19 situation – including consumer rights around travel and event cancellations, grocery pricing etc. Visit here
- World Health Organisation Q&A page on Coronavirus. Visit here
- Australian Taxation Office hotline for tax questions during COVID-19 situation. Visit here
- Australian Govt Department of Home Affairs re: latest travel alerts and restrictions, Visit here
- HealthDirect – Excellent FAQs on various aspects of COVID-19. Visit here
- Australian Psychological Society (APS) on how to deal with Coronavirus anxiety and how to maintain mental health during lock-down. Visit here
- ABC news guide to what’s open and what’s closed, and likely timeline. Visit here
Parkinson’s specific COVID-19 information
- Parkinson’s Foundation blog – live Q&A sessions about COVID and Parkinson’s. Visit here
- Michael J. Fox Foundation ‘Ask the MD’ content re: COVID and Parkinson’s. Visit here
- Shake It Up overview – overlaps with Michael J. Fox content above. Visit here
- Parkinson’s News Today (published from US) overview. Visit here
Emotional and mental well-being
- Beyond Blue has helpful tips on how to look after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak.
- The Australian Psychological Society has an information sheet on how to cope with coronavirus anxiety.
- The World Health Organisation has issued a statement about mental health and the coronavirus.
- RUOK? have some tips about looking out for family members or friends who are struggling.
- ReachOut has ’10 ways to take care of yourself during coronavirus’.
- The Butterfly Foundation has tips and advice for people with eating disorders.
- Emerging Minds have resources about talking to children about disasters or traumatic events.
- Phoenix Australia has tips for you and your fami0 mly.
- Kids Helpline is a phone counselling service for children and young people.
- Wayahead Directory has a list of mental health and community services.
- Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health for resources, information and support.
- Orygen has information for young people and families.
- Roses in the Ocean has mental health tips for working from home
- Centres for disease control and prevention has tips on managing stress and anxiety
- Mindspot – staying mentally and physically well
- Head to Health – mental health tips
- YouTube Parkinson’s-specific exercise to do at home:
- Balance exercises go here
- Coordination exercises go here
Lighter information on coping during self-isolation
- Epicurious web site on cooking and eating during the Coronovirus era. Visit here
- SMH: How people locked down in other countries are coping. Visit here
- SMH: The non-panicky guide to cooking your way through quarantine. Visit here
- RSPCA is encouraging people in self-isolation to adopt pets. Read here
- SBS: Coronavirus and your dog – no need to panic yet. Read here