COVID-19 and Parkinson’s
This page was updated on 15 October 2021 at 3.30pm. This advice will be updated as new information becomes available.
As always, the priority of Parkinson’s NSW 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.
NSW to enter next phase of roadmap to recovery ahead of schedule
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has announced that the state will hit its target of 80 percent of adults being fully vaccinated by Saturday, 16 October.
Therefore NSW can enter the next phase of its roadmap to recovery on Monday, 18 October.
From that day, fully vaccinated people will enjoy additional freedoms including:
- Having 20 people at their homes
- Outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people
- No limits on the number of guests for weddings and funerals
- Participation in community sports
- Ability to visit aged care homes
Masks will still be required for all staff and customers in all indoor settings including on public transport, planes and in airports. However, they will no longer be required in office buildings.
This fact sheet provides a full list of freedoms for the fully vaccinated under this new phase of the roadmap to recovery.
Reopening of regional travel postponed
Reopening of travel to regional NSW has been delayed until 1 November.
Regional travel was among the restrictions to be lifted when the state achieved a double vaccination rate of 80 percent of NSW residents – a milestone expected to be reached next week.
However mayors from the regions are concerned about the unequal vaccination rates between their areas and Greater Sydney, and how the virus could easily spread if regional travel was open to all.
Keep up with the changing rules and restrictions in NSW by regularly visiting this web site.
COVID-19 Vaccine Certificate now available on Service NSW venue check-in application
You can now add your COVID-19 digital certificate to the Service NSW application to prove your vaccination status when you check in to a venue.
A COVID-19 digital certificate is available to people who have received 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
For step-by-step instructions on how to add your digital certificate to the Service NSW venue check-in application, go here.
NSW starts re-opening for fully vaccinated people today
As of today, Monday 11 October, the first phase of the roadmap to reopening NSW begins.
If you’re fully vaccinated or have a medical exemption, click here to view a full list of what this first phase of reopening now enables you to do.
Digital COVID-19 vaccination certificate trialled in regions of NSW
Tamworth, Port Macquarie, Wagga Wagga and Lismore are the trial sites for residents to display their COVID-19 digital vaccination certificates on the Service NSW application called VaxPass.
As of today, Monday 11 October, staff and visitors at a number of clubs and aged-care facilities, as well as selected taxi companies will participate in the trial.
The new Service NSW digital phone application will enable users to simultaneously check into a venue and show proof of vaccination status.
State-wide rollout of the VaxPass application is planned to begin on 18 October. Until then, you can present your vaccination information via:
- A paper certificate from Services Australia
- A digital certificate on the Medicare Express Plus application
- A digital certificate in your Google or Apple wallet on your phone
Click here to find out how to obtain vaccine certification for your situation.
Changed conditions: Day trips between Greater Sydney and regional areas now not permitted
NSW public health orders were amended today (8 October) to state that recreational day trips between Greater Sydney and regional areas will not be allowed when the state begins the first phase of its reopening plan on Monday, 11 October.
Yesterday it was stated that recreational day trips would be allowed. However, this was a grey area in the health orders which have since been clarified.
Travel for essential reasons including carer responsibilities and work will still be allowed in line with current public health orders.
Recreational travel between Greater Sydney and regional areas will be permitted once the state reaches its target of having 80 percent of adult residents fully vaccinated.
NSW Premier announces changes to roadmap out of lockdown
NSW has become the first Australian state to fully vaccinate 70 per cent of its population aged 16 and above against COVID-19.
Consequently, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has announced changes to the NSW roadmap out of COVID-19 lockdown.
From Monday,11 October, fully vaccinated people will be given more freedoms, including:
- 10 adults will be allowed to gather in homes (was previously five)
- 30 adults will be allowed to gather in public outdoor spaces (previously 20)
- Indoor pools will be reopened
- The cap on attendance at weddings and funerals has been raised to 100 people (previously 50)
Students in NSW’s lockdown areas will now return to on-site learning at school from 25 October. Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 12 students will still return to face-to-face learning from 18 October.
The Premier has also announced that when NSW hits its target of 80 percent double dose vaccination coverage:
- Face masks will not be required in office buildings (However, school teachers will be required to wear masks because children won’t be vaccinated)
- 20 adults will be allowed to gather in homes
- 50 people will be allowed to gather outdoors
- 3,000 people will be able to attend ticketed outdoors events
Stay-at-home orders extended for some regional areas
The local government areas of Oberon, the Snowy Monaro and some parts of the Central Darling Shire were supposed to be freed from lockdown today. However, for safety, stay-at-home orders have been extended until Monday, 11 October.
Regional workers with one dose of vaccine permitted to return to workplace
Deputy Premier Paul Toole has announced that workers in regional areas who have received one vaccination dose will be permitted to return to their workplace from 11 October. They will be given a grace period until 1 November to receive their second dose.
Regional Local Government Areas put back into lockdown
The Gunnedah Local Government Area (LGA) was put into lockdown from midnight today (5 October) to 11 October. Stay-at-home orders apply to anyone who has been in the LGA since 27 September.
Lockdown orders have also been imposed in Taree, Forster and Tuncurry on the Mid North Coast until 11 October. This includes anyone who has visited the areas since 27 September.
Lismore LGA has also been locked down for the same period.
Stay-at-home orders have been extended for Muswellbrook after the town recorded an additional case on Monday, and Muswellbrook McDonald’s was listed as an exposure site.
Stay-at-home orders for Cowra LGA were lifted as scheduled today and Port Macquarie LGA will exit lockdown at 11:59 pm tonight (5 October).
Stay-at-home orders extended in 18 regional areas
The Snowy Monaro Local Government Area will go into a seven day lockdown from 3pm today (30 September).
Stay-at-home orders have also been extended until 11 October in 18 regional areas of NSW.
They include Bathurst Regional, Bourke, Central Coast, City of Cessnock, Dubbo Regional, Eurobodalla, Goulburn Mulwaree, Kiama, City of Lake Macquarie, City of Lithgow, City of Maitland, City of Newcastle, Port Stephens, Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional, City of Shellharbour, City of Shoalhaven, and Wingecarribee.
The stay-at-home order for the Central Darling Shire Council will be lifted from 1 October, excluding Wilcannia and Menindee.
Stay-at-home orders will be extended in Menindee for a further seven days and in Wilcannia until 11 October.
Restrictions on the Mid-Western Regional, Hilltops and Walgett Local Government Areas will also be lifted from 1 October as scheduled.
Stay at home orders for Port Macquarie, Muswellbrook and Oberon
Stay-at-home orders for the Port Macquarie, Muswellbrook and Oberon Local Government Areas (LGAs) were introduced from 6pm on 29 September for seven days due to an increased COVID-19 public health risk.
These stay-at-home orders will also apply to anyone who has been in the Port Macquarie and Muswellbrook LGAs since 17 September and 22 September respectively.
This stay-at-home order will also apply to anyone who has been in the Oberon LGA since 20 September.
Health authorities are monitoring other NSW regions still in lockdown which have recorded increases in cases – including Port Macquarie, Kempsey and Muswellbrook.
Breast screening services to resume
BreastScreen NSW is working towards again providing free mammograms to women after being forced to temporarily suspend screening because of the latest COVID-19 outbreak.
Due to the pandemic, appointments were cancelled and nurses were redeployed to COVID-related responsibilities.
Screening will return to regional areas first, based on a case by case assessment of the risk in each area. BreastScreen’s priority will be to contact women who had their appointments cancelled and offer prioritised bookings for scans.
Therapeutic Goods Administration approves home COVID tests
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has approved the use of home test kits for COVID-19 as of 1 November.
The rapid antigen tests will be sold at pharmacies, convenience stores and on the Internet.
Rapid antigen tests are currently used by health and safety professionals in a wide range of industries. However, they are not currently designed for use by individual consumers so instructions need to be made more consumer-friendly prior to distribution.
Lockdown restrictions to start easing from 11 October
Premier Gladys Berejiklian has confirmed that lockdown restrictions will start easing in NSW as of 11 October.
The state is expected to have passed the 70 percent double dose vaccine milestone by that date. It is expected that 80 percent double dosing of the adult population will be achieved within a further two weeks after that.
At the 70 percent rate, the following privileges (among others) will be available to people who are double vaccinated (but not to people who are just single dose or unvaccinated):
Gatherings in homes and public spaces
- Up to five visitors in a home where all adults are fully vaccinated.
- Up to 20 fully vaccinated people can gather in outdoor settings.
Access to hospitality venues, retail stores and gyms
- Hospitality venues can reopen subject to one person per 4 square metres inside and one person per 2 square metres outside. Standing while drinking is permitted outside only.
- Retail stores can reopen under the one person per 4 square metres rule.
- Personal services such as hairdressers and nail salons can open with one person per 4 square metres, capped at five clients per premises.
- Gyms and indoor recreation facilities can open under the one person per 4 square metres rule and can offer classes for up to 20 people.
- Sporting facilities including indoor swimming pools can reopen. (Outdoor pools and natural swimming spots are already open).
- Caravan parks and camping grounds can open.
- Carpooling will be permitted.
Weddings, funerals and places of worship
- Up to 50 guests can attend weddings, with dancing permitted and eating and drinking only while seated.
- Up to 50 guests can attend funerals, with eating and drinking while seated.
- Places of worship to open subject to one person per 4 square metres rule, with no singing.
Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck has promised people will be able to hug and touch family members and friends in aged care facilities as part of a plan to allow visitors back as soon as possible. See here for preliminary details.
This is a partial list only of privileges under the Reopening NSW Roadmap. Go here for full information
These privileges are subject to further fine-tuning and Public Health Notices if circumstances change drastically, or if cases within a designated area remain too high.
For the latest information on COVID-19 rules and restrictions (regardless of vaccination rates) go here.
Masks will remain mandatory for all indoor public venues – including public transport, front-of-house hospitality, retail, and business premises, on planes and at airports.
Looking forward to 80 percent double vaccination and beyond
At the 80 percent double vaccination rate, fully vaccinated people will be able to travel through regional NSW and 10 visitors will be allowed at a home.
Drinking while standing up will be allowed in pubs with all premises operating the rule of one person per 4 square metres indoors and one person per 2 square metres outdoors.
Community sport will resume and fully vaccinated people will be able to attend weddings, funerals and hairdressers without restrictions..
Unvaccinated people will only be allowed to attend places of worship.
A third stage of reopening is expected to become effective on 1 December. That is when the state is expected to reach a 90 percent rate of double dose vaccinations.
On that date, unvaccinated people will become subject to the same rules as those who’ve been vaccinated.
Masks will no longer be required indoors, and nightclubs will reopen.
Young people’s ‘friends bubble from 21 September 2021
The NSW government has announced that a young people’s ‘friends bubble’ begins today (21 September), which is the second day of public school holidays.
The ‘bubble’ rules permit a group of three friends under the age of 18 to visit each other at home as long as they live within 5km and in the same LGA, and as long as all adults in the household are fully vaccinated.
Restrictions eased in Sydney LGAs of concern
As of today, Monday 20 September, local government areas (LGAs) of concern will be under the same lockdown rules and stay-at-home orders as the rest of Greater Sydney.
This includes LGAs of Bayside, Blacktown, Burwood, Campbelltown, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland, Fairfield, Georges River, Liverpool, Parramatta, Strathfield, and Penrith
Restrictions for these LGAs have been relaxed as follows
- Now no limit on the duration of outdoor exercise and recreation (previously a two-hour limit)
- Outdoor gatherings of up to five fully vaccinated people – not including children aged 12 and under – are now permitted in a person’s LGA or within 5km of home. (Previously only fully vaccinated household members could gather outdoors, or up to two fully vaccinated people from different households.)
- Shopping, exercise, and outdoor recreation can now be done with 5km from home or within the person’s LGA (previously only 5km from home)
- It is now possible to attend a small wedding – a maximum of 11 people – in Greater Sydney as a guest (previously only allowed within a person’s LGA)
- A person’s single’s bubble buddy can live in Greater Sydney (previously must have resided within 5km of a person’s home). A person from an LGA of concern can also now be a buddy for someone in Greater Sydney.
However, the authorised worker conditions and the travel permit requirements remain in place for these 12 LGAs.
Outdoor swimming pools to re-open
Outdoor pools across NSW will reopen from Monday, 27 September – including those in LGAs of concern.
Councils will be able to reopen outdoor public pools as long as there is a stringent COVID safety plan approved by NSW Health.
Natural pools such as waterfalls, lakes, and rockpools are already permitted to open.
Fines in force:
Increased fines for Public Health Order breaches are:
- $5,000 on the spot fine for breaching self-isolation rules (previously the fine was $1,000)
- $5,000 on the spot fine for lying on a permit
- $5,000 on the spot fine for lying to a contact tracer
- $3,000 on the spot fine for breaching the two-person outdoor exercise/recreation rule (previously the fine was $1,000)
- $3,000 on the spot fine for breaching rules around entry into regional NSW
Visit the NSW Health web site for detailed information on COVID-19 rules.
There are over 3,000 COVID-19 vaccination clinics across NSW
Latest Information on COVID-19 Vaccines
New Novovax COVID-19 vaccine ordered for Australia
The Australian government has agreed to purchase 51 million doses of the Novavax vaccine – up from its original planned order of 40 million doses.
The new vaccine is likely to be available to the public later in 2021. It is officially called NVX-CoV2373.
The Novavax COVID-19 two-dose vaccine has been found to have more than 90 per cent efficacy in clinical trials conducted in both the U.S. and U.K.
Unlike Pfizer and Moderna, Novavax does not use mRNA – a piece of genetic code for which the body creates an immune response.
Novavax uses a traditional vaccine approach of using purified pieces of the coronavirus to spur an immune response in the body.
The body can then make antibodies to the spike proteins that cover the coronavirus.
Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?
Yes. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) rigorously assesses all COVID-19 vaccines for safety, quality and effectiveness.
While it may appear that vaccines have been developed very quickly, actually researchers have been working on them since the very earliest stages of the pandemic. They have been able to speed up development of vaccines through collaboration between them, scientists, manufacturers and distributors.
Once approved by the TGA there are further safeguards in place – each batch of vaccine is checked to make sure it meets quality standards.
Does the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine cause blood clots?
Australia’s medical experts in the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) have reviewed the data available on the incidence of rare blood clots after COVID-19 vaccination.
There has been a link established between the AstraZeneca vaccine and a very rare but serious side effect called thrombosis in combination with thrombocytopenia.
There is a very low chance of this side effect, which may occur in around 4-6 people in every million after being vaccinated with AstraZeneca.
This rate is lower than the natural background occurrence of a blood clot in people who have not received the AstraZeneca vaccine
As a result, ATAGI has recommended that the Pfizer vaccine is preferred for people under the age of 50.
If you are under the age of 50, you should discuss with your doctor whether you can receive the AstraZeneca vaccine. Your doctor will weigh the potential risks against the benefits they expect the vaccine may have for you.
Learn more about the Astra Zeneca vaccine and thrombosis in combination with thrombocytopenia.
Who will receive the vaccines first and how is this decided?
The Australian Government, informed by ATAGI and other medical expert groups, has published detailed information outlining priority populations on the basis of a number of factors – including where COVID-19 infections are occurring, the risk of infection and severe disease, and the characteristics of the available vaccines.
The quickest way to check your eligibility is to use the Australian Department of Health Vaccine Eligibility Checker
Where can I access the vaccine and is it free?
COVID-19 vaccines are free for everyone in Australia under the Australian COVID-19 Vaccination Policy.
Some people will be able to access the vaccine through their workplace (e.g. healthcare workers, residential aged care facility workers). Others will be able to access the vaccine through their General Practitioner, GP respiratory clinics, Aboriginal Controlled Community Health Services, and state-run vaccination clinics.
To find out if you are eligible to be vaccinated, check the COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Tracker. If you are eligible to be vaccinated now, you will be able to view vaccination clinics and book an appointment.
If you are not yet eligible, you can register your interest so you will be notified when you are able to book.
Stay informed by reading these regularly updated Covid-19 vaccine frequently asked questions
What you need to know
Venues and businesses are required to record the details of people who visit or shop at that location. This enables contact tracing if a COVID-19 case is associated with that location.
Posters displaying Quick Response (QR) Codes are being used for this purpose (although many locations also provide the option of written registration).
QR Codes may seem intimidating at first, they are simply a version of the barcodes you see every day on consumer goods at your supermarket.
QR codes but they are a fast and accurate way for you to register at places you visit for COVID safety purposes.
This is what a QR code looks like – follow step 1 below to practice using your smartphone. You will be directed to the homepage of the Parkinson’s NSW website.
1. When you arrive at a venue, open the camera application on your smartphone and point it at the QR code on the poster. There is no need to take a photograph, just point the camera.
This will automatically open a window on your phone screen which will enable you to input your contact information for contact tracing purposes.
2. If you have the Service NSW application installed, you will automatically be taken to the check in.
If you don’t have the Service NSW application installed, you will be offered two options:
- Download the Service NSW application, create an account and check in
- Check in using an online form.
3. A staff member at the venue may ask to check the successful sign-in on your phone.
- It is important for the ongoing control of COVID-19 in NSW that anyone who has any symptoms, no matter how mild, continues to get tested immediately and self-isolate until a negative result is received.
- Symptoms include a runny nose, cough, sore or scratchy throat, fever, loss of smell or taste, or shortness of breath.
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.
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
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