The information on this page is designed to provide older Canberrans with up-to-date news and information regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The spread of COVID-19 and Australia’s response is evolving. We will keep you updated with these changes as information becomes available through this web page. The information on this page is based on the latest advice from the Australian Government and the ACT Government.
Council on the Ageing (COTA) ACT office
The COTA ACT office is now closed. COTA ACT staff are available to answer calls between 9:00am – 5:00pm Monday to Friday. If you have any questions regarding your Seniors Card or any other services that we manage please call: 6282 3777.
LATEST – Groups and gatherings – updated 20 May
Information is changing at a very fast pace regarding the rules around social distancing. Please visit the ACT Government Department of Health – Groups and gathering web page for more information.
Easing of restrictions – A message from the Office of the Chief Health Officer
While there is no evidence of community transmission in the ACT and no or very few cases, people who are vulnerable to COVID-19 can leave their home, including to attend public places. To further reduce the very low risk of acquiring and spreading COVID-19 everyone, including people who are at increased risk from COVID-19, are being advised to practice physical distancing, carry out frequent hand hygiene and avoid contact greetings, like hugs or handshakes. We would also strongly recommend that people who are vulnerable to COVID-19 avoid large gatherings or crowded places, where it might be difficult to maintain physical distancing. For more information visit the Chief Health Officer alerts web page.
COVID-19 hotline for older Australians and carers
Critical information to stay healthy and safe during the pandemic is available by calling – 1800 171 866.
Older people and carers needing information about COVID-19 are encouraged to call this number to speak to friendly, specially trained staff from a senior’s advocacy organisation.
Assistance with food and meals for older Australians impacted by COVID-19
This fact sheet is for older Australians. It outlines the support available to you if you are isolated and finding it difficult to access food and basic household items. To access this factsheet visit the Assistance with food and meals for older Australians web page.
Basics Box – Woolworths have a new program for the vulnerable called the Basics Box. The Basics Box was developed to help provide essential products to customers who are currently unable to visit their stores. This includes the elderly, people with a disability, those with compromised immunity and people in mandatory isolation.
To be eligible you’ll need to be able to show that you fall into one of these groups. For older Canberrans simply use your Seniors Card. For more information, visit the Woolworths website.
Supermarkets open to seniors – To help support the shopping needs of vulnerable community members, Woolworths and Coles have introduced an exclusive shopping hour for individuals with appropriate government-issued concessionary identification.
Providers who are supporting this include:
- Woolworths Community Hour, which runs 7am – 8am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday
- Coles has ended its community shopping hour for seniors.
- Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets – Seniors Shopping Hour 7am – 8am Thursday and Friday
Woolworths and Coles have also launched services to support vulnerable people to access delivery services, which you may be eligible for. Further information can be found by visiting the following websites:
ACT Government COVID-19 website
Updated information – The ACT Government is continually updating their COVID-19 website with information on current cases, new laws to help restrict further outbreak of the virus and news on how Canberrans and the community continue to be effected by the impact of the virus. This website covers health, hygiene and the importance of looking after your mental health in this pandemic. For more information visit the ACT Government COVID-19 website.
Phone helpline – The ACT Government has established a helpline to assist the Canberra community through the challengers of COVID-19. The helpline will provide you with information to keep you informed on the developments of the pandemic and provide you with access to services related to COVID-19. The helpline also provides information for business owners.
Phone – 6207 7244 (8am and 8pm daily) or visit the contact us web page.
Access Canberra – To assist seniors and those that may not have access to online services, Access Canberra have introduced a dedicated quiet period between 9am – 11am to support vulnerable Canberrans including seniors and those with English as a second language. For more information visit the Access Canberra website.
Australian Government Department of Health website
COVIDSafe app – The Australian Government Department of Health have introduced the COVIDSafe app which is designed to speed up contacting people exposed to COVID-19. Please read the content on the COVIDSafe webpage before clicking on the download button.
Updated information – The Australian Government Department of Health also continually update their COVID – 19 website with current information and the impact the virus is having on Australia as a whole. For more information visit the Australian Government Department of Health website.
COVID-19 and older Australians factsheets – The Australian Government has a factsheet specifically designed for older Australians to provide the latest information concerning COVID-19. This factsheet is regularly updated with information about older Australians, their family and friends and how to protect yourself from the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). To access this factsheet visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for older Australians web page.
Telehealth factsheet – To provide continued access to essential primary health services during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian Government has expanded Medicare-subsidised telehealth services for all Australians and is providing extra incentives to general practitioners and other health practitioners. For more information visit the Telehealth web page.
Important phone numbers – You can call the Coronavirus health information line on
1800 020 080 If you have serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, call triple zero (000).
Coronavirus Australia app – Stay up to date with official information and advice about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. You can check your symptoms and get notified when urgent information and updates are published. For more information visit the Coronavirus Australia app web page.
English as a second language
The ACT Government has developed a COVID-19 information web page in twelve languages other than English to support Canberrans who speak a language other than English. For more information, visit their translated resources web page.
Advice for aged care facilities
For information or support regarding aged care please call the Older Person’s Advocacy Network (OPAN) on 1800 700 600 or visit opan.com.au
OPAN are Australia’s leading advocates for older Australians.
For up-to-date information about COVID-19 and the aged care sector in the ACT, visit the ACT Government COVID-19 web page.
The Australian Government Department of Health has a number of resources for older Canberrans and aged care facilities regarding COVID-19.
The Australian Government Department of Health have an aged care sector newsletter with up-to-date information regarding COVID-19. To subscribe to this newsletter, visit the – Aged care sector announcements and newsletter web page.
Isolation and mental health during COVID-19
The outbreak of the Coronavirus COVID-19 has impacted people in varying ways. It is understandable that during times like this, people may be feeling afraid, worried, anxious and or overwhelmed by the constantly changing alerts and media coverage regarding the spread of the virus.
Lifeline – The Lifeline website is a great resource and includes information on how to look after your mental health during these uncertain times. There are some excellent wellbeing tips and strategies for yourself and others you might be caring for during this pandemic. For more information, visit the Lifeline website or phone 13 11 14.
Beyond Blue – Beyond Blue regularly update their website with information, advice and strategies to help manage wellbeing and mental health during this uncertain time. For more information, visit the Beyond Blue website or phone 1800 512 348.