Coronavirus: how to get advice, stay connected and shop online
As the situation in Australia regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) evolves, we offer you, and your loved ones, some tips on how to get advice, shop online and stay connected.
If you are limiting face-to-face contact, self-isolating or in quarantine, it's important to make sure you can access reliable information, stay connected with friends and family and order what you need online.
In this article:
How to monitor the situation
It's important to keep up to date with information and advice provided by reliable sources, including the official Australian Government guidance. This information is regularly updated and based on the best possible advice as the situation changes.
For the latest news, updates and advice from government agencies across Australia, visit www.australia.gov.au.
For information on COVID-19, call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080.
How to stay connected online
Although it may be necessary for you to physically isolate yourself from other people during the coronavirus outbreak, it's vital to stay in touch with friends and family.
You can make video calls, send typed or instant messages and share photos and written updates with your friends on social media services. Being in touch with friends and family will help you to stay connected and feel less isolated.
You might like to set up a regular time to video call or send messages to one another throughout the day.
Learn more about how to:
You can also join one of our free online safety presentations about staying safe on Facebook.
Online shopping tips and advice
If you are self-isolating, in quarantine or your mobility is restricted for other reasons, shopping at online supermarkets and pharmacies can help to ensure you have the supplies you need.
If you are self-isolating or in quarantine, you can add delivery instructions to your order asking for your goods to be left outside, not handed over in person.
Shop on secure Australian websites
It's a good idea to shop with brands and established stores you know and recognise, who use secure websites.
What to look for:
- A secure website will have ‘https://’ in the website's address, and sometimes a locked padlock icon in the browser address bar. This means your data and payment details will be encrypted (sent using a secret code).
- A website address or domain that ends in .com.au lets you know the website is linked to an Australian business.
- Check the website lists an Australian Company Number or an Australian Business Number. You can also look up the ACN or ABN on the Australian Business Register.
- Check the store has a working telephone number.
- Check online reviews by typing the name of the store and ‘reviews’ into a search engine to see if other customers have had a good experience or ask friends which online stores they have used.
- If possible, use PayPal or a credit card to pay for your goods on a secure website.
For more information, watch one of our free online safety presentations on shopping and banking.
Buying groceries and food online
Coles and Woolworths are open for online grocery shopping orders and they're offering a priority service for the people that really need it. There's also the 'click and collect' option that lets you pick up your online order from a local store or selected location.
Find out more about Woolworths Priority Assistance.
Online fresh produce
There are many fruit and vegetable delivery services which bypass the main online supermarkets. Search online for one that delivers near you. You will not be able to choose exactly which broccoli floret you want, nor its size. While online stores selling fresh fruit and vegetables will give you an estimate of how much a zucchini weighs, for instance, the reality is that they may vary in size considerably. This goes for online supermarkets as well, so be aware that when you buy fresh produce online you may end up with slightly more or less than you intended.
Online meal and food delivery services
There are many meal delivery services, such as Hello Fresh and Marley Spoon, which offer weekly subscriptions to deliver a set number of recipe cards and the food needed to prepare each meal. Restaurant delivery services, such as Deliveroo, Menulog and Uber Eats, pick up and deliver prepared food from restaurants near you. Restaurants in your local area may also offer their own delivery service.
How to get prescription medicine during lockdown
If you’re in lockdown, it’s important to make sure you still have access to any regular medications you need. There are several options available to help you get your medicine without leaving the house.
- Ask your doctor for an escript. If that's not available, they may be able to email or fax a copy of your script to your local pharmacy.
- Call your local pharmacy or check their website to see whether they offer home delivery - you may be able to place an order online or over the phone.
- If you have the paper prescription at home, ask a friend or family member to collect the medicine on your behalf. Call your pharmacist first to check whether they need any additional information from you or the person collecting the medicine.
- A Home Medicine Services has been set up to provide vulnerable people with free home delivery of PBS and RPBS medicines. The service was set up on 16 March 2020 and will be available for six months.
If you ever need to buy your medicine online, always stick to trusted online pharmacies that also have physical stores. Make sure the online pharmacy is Australian based and that there’s a contact number for you to speak to the pharmacist. Find out more about getting medicine during coronavirus restrictions.
A note on scams
At times like this, it's important to be aware that scams may grow rapidly. Dishonest people may try to exploit your fear or appeal to your generosity for their own gain. Scams can look and sound very real, but the more you know about them, the easier they are to spot. For more information, read eSafety’s advice on online scams and identity theft or go to Scamwatch for the latest scams news and alerts.
This post has been updated on 23th July 2020.