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Our response to the COVID-19 pandemic

How we support people to maintain their wellbeing and manage isolation.

Red Cross emergency services volunteers in Victoria delivering relief packages full of food, water and personal care items to people who are isolating with little to no food and no network of family to support them. Photo: Austrralian Red Cross/Stephen Sennett

Updated 3 April 2020

For 106 years, Red Cross has stood with Australians through disasters, emergencies and the other challenges life throws at us.

This is no exception.

We are working with federal and state governments, thousands of volunteers across the country, and millions across the world to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our focus remains where it always has been: helping those left most vulnerable, and supporting all Australians to maintain their wellbeing and cope with disruption and uncertainty.

Supporting those left more vulnerable

As more and more people enter mandatory self-isolation, we’re providing some extra help to those who don’t have the support of an income or a network of family and friends.  

Daily wellbeing calls, providing psychological first aid, information and service to vulnerable people across the country in quarantine and self-isolation.

This includes:

  • 13,000 Queenslanders in self-isolation
  • over 1,300 recently returnees from overseas in hotel-quarantine
  • health staff in self-isolation in the ACT
  • families from bushfire-affected communities in Victoria who are self-isolating
  • South Australians in quarantine and voluntary self-isolation
  • our elderly and isolated clients, using Skype and video calls to maintain connection between them and our volunteers who can no longer visit them in person.

We’re preparing to ramp up this service to provide more than 25,000 calls per day to vulnerable Australians.

Food and essentials

  • Coordinating emergency food and hygiene packages to Victorians who have little to no food.
  • Providing hygiene packs and health information to remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory.
  • Providing food, hygiene items and health information to young people experiencing homelessness.
  • Disseminating daily community health and hygiene information to refugee and asylum seeker communities in 18 different languages.

Helping all Australians to prepare and manage self-isolation

We are sharing health and safety messages to help 'flatten the curve’ and prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

We have created useful resources to help people maintain their wellbeing and manage isolation.

We are ‘spreading kindness’ – encouraging safe and practical ways for people to look after each other and support those who may be more vulnerable at this time. 

Protecting clients, volunteers and staff

We are taking critical steps to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and protect our clients and people. This includes stopping face-to-face contact, providing services by phone and email wherever possible, and working with each service to ensure that people have the support they need.

  • We've taken our Red Cross Calling fundraiser online, instead of knocking on doors. 
  • We’ve closed our Red Cross Shops, face-to-face First Aid training courses, mobility aid hire in Queensland as well as the Commix Café in Brisbane’s CBD.  
  • We have stopped all group-based member run activities, such as tea rooms and homework clubs, until restrictions on public gatherings are lifted. 

We continue to monitor the outbreak in line with public health advice and will make further changes as needed.

Supporting the global response

Red Cross and Red Crescent societies worldwide are working to contain the spread of COVID-19 and support those who are affected.

Australian Red Cross aid workers are part of this response, supporting pandemic preparedness, emergency operations and emergency health services. We’re also supporting Red Cross societies in the Pacific to prepare for and contain COVID-19 outbreaks in Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and other countries. 

And in the meantime …

Our everyday work continues: from providing financial assistance to people who lost homes in the bushfires, to supporting refugees and their families, and working with people in prison and young people at risk. COVID-19 has made life even harder for many of these people. 

What you can do

  • Give blood, if you can. Our friends at Red Cross Lifeblood have taken necessary steps to ensure donor centres are safe.
  • Make a donation. You might not see us knock on your door this month, but we could really use your help.
  • Share your ways to stay connected. If you have great ideas to beat loneliness during periods of self-isolation, let us know.

Emergencies happen to all of us. We get through them together.

Looking after yourself and others

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Tech and other solutions for staying connected with elderly friends and family in the COVID-19 era

A list of bright ideas for connecting and helping the wellbeing of oldies (and others). Made with thanks to our supporters who shared how they are staying in touch.

Disrupted and disappointed by COVID-19

How to lessen disappointment when holidays and social events are cancelled.

A card to help your neighbours

An idea we love and a template you can use.

Right now, we’re expanding and adapting our services to meet the demands of a world responding to COVID-19. More than ever, we need your support to help people stay safe, connected and supported. Please donate if you’re able.