Top tips for staying safe during school holidays

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is urging families to help stop the spread of COVID-19 this school holiday by following expert medical advice and acting responsibly.

School breaks up for the second term holiday on Friday 26th June in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Victoria - the state which has concerned medical authorities due to a recent rise in case numbers.

On Monday the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee advised people to avoid travelling to or from six local government areas in Melbourne with the highest number of cases in Victoria.

The holiday starts a week later in Tasmania, New South Wales, Western Australia and South Australia, with term two winding up on Friday 3rd July.

RACGP Spokesperson Dr Charlotte Hespe urged families across Australia do their bit to stop the spread of COVID-19.

"This is not a normal school holidays. Although we have successfully flattened the COVID-19 curve in Australia and have seen an easing of restrictions, we are far from out of the woods.

"The spike in cases in Victoria was not unexpected and could happen in other areas, particularly as people gain more freedoms.

"This is why it is so important that families are extra vigilant this school holidays and maintain social distancing and regular hand washing - those in COVID-19 hotspots in Victoria should holiday at home and avoid unnecessary travel interstate and regionally.

"Please be responsible and abide by the restrictions in your state or territory.

"Anyone who is feeling unwell with COVID-19 symptoms such as cough and fever should get tested right away and self-isolate until you get the results.

"And if you do test positive for COVID-19, you and any other members of your household must self-isolate - that means staying home and avoiding social gatherings of any type."

Dr Hespe also reminded families to take care of themselves and see their GP for any health concerns.

"We know many people have avoided seeing their GP during this pandemic due to fear of contracting COVID-19 or thinking their GP was not open.

"I want to reassure everyone that GPs are open and safe to visit. In fact, it's never been easier to access your GP, with telephone and video consultations available, as well as in-person. If you aren't confident using video technologies a phone will work just fine.

"GPs have strict infection control processes in place to combat COVID-19 and they should be maintaining and reviewing these in light of the changing situation.

"My message to families this school holiday is this: remember it's not a 'normal' holiday, you need to maintain social distancing and keep up the regular handwashing and coughing into your elbow. It's not just about keeping your own children healthy, it's for the health of our whole community. Together we can beat this virus, but only if we all do our bit.

"I'd like everyone to take a well-deserved break and enjoy their holiday, which you can do despite the restrictions - take this time to recharge your batteries in readiness to continue following the advice to stop the spread of COVID-19."

School holiday advice for families:

if you have COVID-19 symptoms such as a fever or cough get tested right away and self-isolate until you get the results

maintain social distancing (1.5m) and be careful in how you interact with people, particularly those more at-risk such as older Australians and those with existing health conditions

hand wash or sanitise regularly and cough or sneeze into your elbow

people living in COVID-19 hotspots in Victoria should avoid unnecessary travel regionally or interstate

if you have any other health concerns, see your GP.

The RACGP's Expert Advice Matters campaign has been encouraging patients to continue taking care of their health during the COVID-19 pandemic and consult with their usual GP for any health concerns. The campaign website includes information for patients on how to access care from their GP via telephone or video consultations.