Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for GPs

You can find all RACGP COVID-19 resources in a central location on the RACGP website. For vaccine information visit the COVID-19 vacccine information for GPs webpage.

The information on this page was last updated on Friday 31 March 4.30 pm AEDT.
Recent updates include: 

For local information, see your state or territory health department website. 

Access specific information for your state or territory

The Department of Health and Aged Care has released the National COVID-19 Health Management Plan for 2023. The plan sees several changes including implementing the requirement for a referral for PCR testing and scaling back of GP-led respiratory clinics. 

Access to PCR Testing

From 1 January 2023 PCR testing is only available by referral by a GP or nurse practitioner, or at a state testing site or GP-led respiratory clinic for priority populations.

The approach to testing is outlined in this explainer from the Department of Health and Aged Care and as per below.  

Low-risk population
Low risk people are encouraged to stay home when feeling sick. They should take a RAT if they have respiratory and/or other COVID-19 symptoms. If a positive COVID19 result is received, stay home where possible and if you must leave, wear a mask and avoid highrisk settings. Continue to monitor symptoms, and engage early with your primary care provider if symptoms worsen.

Low risk, with close contact to high-risk population
Low-risk people who live or work with people who are high risk, particularly for COVID-19, are encouraged to take a RAT if they have respiratory and/or other COVID-19 symptoms and stay home when feeling sick. If symptoms persist following a negative RAT, these people should get a PCR through a GP or normal referral pathway. People entering high-risk settings will be encouraged to continue to use RATs for screening and diagnosis to prevent further transmission.

High-risk population
People in high-risk populations who are at risk of severe COVID-19 and would benefit from antiviral treatments will be prioritised for PCR testing and engagement with primary care services. If you are at risk of severe COVID-19, you should consult with your primary care provider about your eligibility for antiviral treatments and create a plan to ensure fast access to treatment. Those at higher risk of severe COVID-19 include: older Australians, First Nations people, people with disability, people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities, people living in remote communities, people with complex underlying health conditions and the immunocompromised.


Exemption to the 12-month ‘Existing relationship’ telehealth rule for COVID-positive patients

Patients who test positive to COVID-19 on a PCR test or rapid antigen test (RAT) within the last seven days can access general telehealth consultations from any GP under normal MBS telehealth eligibility requirements. This means they do not need to have seen the GP providing the service or another health professional at the same practice in-person at least once in the last 12 months to access telehealth.

The Department of Health and Aged Care have confirmed that this exemption will be temporarily extended until 31 December 2023.

Exemption to the 12-month ‘Existing relationship’ telehealth rule for high risk people who suspect they have COVID-19 and who meet the PBS criteria for COVID-19 antiviral therapy

A temporary exemption from the established clinical relationship requirement for telehealth consultations is now place until 31 Marc 2023, for high risk people who suspect they have COVID-19 and who meet the PBS criteria for COVID-19 antiviral therapy to seek a request to a private pathologist for PCR test in relation to COVID-19.
The rule is defined as having had at least one face-to-face consultation with the GP, or another practitioner at the same practice, within the 12 months preceding the telehealth service.
Under these new arrangements, any GP or other medical practitioner (OMP) can provide a telehealth consultation to patients who meet all of the following criteria:

  • Do not meet the established clinical relationship requirement
  • Are eligible for PBS criteria for antiviral therapy
  • Are experiencing acute respiratory symptoms
  • Are seeking a request to a private pathologist for Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing in relation to COVID-19

These changes will enable high-risk patients to continue to have timely access to PCR testing over the summer period. 

GPs claiming the exemption are expected to record their justification in the context of their requirement to keep adequate and contemporaneous patient records.
Visit MBS Online for more information.

Change to notification advice for COVID antiviral treatment pathways in QLD, NSW, VIC and SA

Since mid-2022, Healthdirect Australia has assisted COVID-positive people in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia connect to their GP for antiviral treatment assessment and prescription.

Healthdirect notifies the consumer via text message to call their GP if they may be potentially eligible for antivirals, and to date has also notified their GP or GP-led respiratory clinic (GPRC) by secure messaging of the patient status. This secure message to GPs and GPRCs was followed up with a phone call.

From 1 January 2023, the follow up call will no longer be made. The secure messaging of the patient status will continue.  

Changes to GP-led respiratory clinics

While there has already been a scaling back of GP-led respiratory clinics (GPRCs) 78 GPRCs will continue to be funded until 28 February 2023. From March 2023 the GPRC model will move to a panel model for activation during emergencies.
The Department of Health and Aged Care (the Department) has advised that existing accredited general practices will be selected for the GPRC Panel (GPRCP) through an approach to market that has now been listed on the AusTender website. The below information has been provided by the Department in relation to the new GPRCP and lodging an application via AusTender. 

Overview of the GPRCP
  • To ensure sufficient surge capacity is in place to respond to subsequent COVID-19 waves or any other future respiratory health emergencies, the GPRCP will be implemented from March 2023.
  • Under this new panel arrangement, up to 150 existing, accredited primary care practices, which may include former GPRCs if they meet the standard criteria to participate, would be held in reserve to be activated as needed in response to the emergence of another COVID-19 wave or other major heath respiratory emergency.
  • During periods of activation, GPRCP participants will be provided access to a new MBS Item (bulk-billed) for each respiratory consultation. Upon activation, they will also be eligible to claim a Practice Incentive Payment (PIP) equivalent to their PIP QI payment per 3-month period.
  • Participating clinics will be able to provide their usual services through standard MBS Items while activated, they will not be constrained to only providing services under the GPRCP.

Key dates



Release of Request for Tender on AusTender

Thursday, 5 January 2023

Enquiry Cut-Off (including extension request) Date

2pm AEDT, Thursday, 19 January 2023

Closing Time (for responses)

2pm AEDT, Thursday, 9 February 2023

Commencement of Panel

1 March 2023


AusTender Registration
  1. Register on AusTender at  New User Registration: AusTender (  -  AusTender is the Australian Government’s procurement information system.

  2. Any queries or requests for technical or operational support can be directed to:

  • AusTender Help Desk
  • Telephone:  1300 651 698
  • International:  +61 2 6215 1558
  • Email:
  1. The AusTender Help Desk is available between 9am and 5pm AEDT, Monday to Friday (excluding ACT and national public holidays).

Lodging a response
  1. Once registered, navigate to Current ATM View - Health/23/325151: AusTender ( – here you will find a link to the ‘ATM Documents’ and ‘Lodgement Page’
  2. Tenders must be lodged electronically via AusTender before the Closing Time (AEDT)
  3. If Tenderers need to lodge material that cannot be submitted via AusTender, Tenderers should contact the Contact Officer at email prior to Closing Time to make arrangements for its submission. 
  4. Where a Tender lodgement consists of multiple uploads, due to the number and/or size of the files, Tenderers must ensure that transmission of all files is completed and receipted before the Closing Time and clause 9.4 will only apply to the final upload.
  5. The Department will accept Tenders lodged in Microsoft Word 2003 (or above), or PDF format
  6. The Tender file name/s should:
  • incorporate the Tenderer’s company name; and
  • reflect the various parts of the bid they represent, where the Tender comprises multiple files.
  • Tender response files should not exceed a combined file size of 5 megabytes per upload.
  • Tenders must be completely self-contained.  No hyperlinked or other material may be incorporated by reference. 
For further information or assistance, please email the team at


RACGP resources to support care of COVID-19 positive patients

You can find all RACGP COVID-19 resources here on the RACGP website. 

National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce resources

The National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce, of which the RACGP is a collaborating partner, has living guidelines, FAQs, and clinical flowcharts and decision tools to support the management of people with COVID-19.


Prescribing Paxlovid and Lagevrio via the PBS

The RACGP has developed resources to support GPs safely prescribe these treatments including a prescribing workflow that aims to support GPs and practices to carry out patient suitability assessments for COVID-19 oral treatments in advance of a patient testing positive to COVID-19, to expedite access to these treatments in the event the patient contracts COVID-19.

Eligibility criteria

Adults who have mild to moderate COVID-19 (confirmed by a PCR or medically verified RAT) and who can start treatment within five days of symptom onset, are eligible to be prescribed oral antiviral treatments if:

  • they are 70 years of age or older*
  • they are 50 years of age or older with two other risk factors for severe disease
  • they identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin, and are 30 years of age or older with one other risk factor for severe disease; or
  • they are 18 years of age or older and moderately to severely immunocompromised.
Please note: As of 1 April 2023, people who are 60-69 years of age with one risk factor for severe illness will have access to PBS-subsidised Paxlovid. Read the Minister for Health and Aged Care’s press release on this development here.

​*in people aged 70 years of age and above treatment should be initiated as soon as possible after diagnosis is confirmed even if the patient is asymptomatic. 
For further information on these medicines and risk factors for eligibility, see the RACGP’s Oral treatments for COVID-19: Prescribing information for GPs

National Clinical Evidence Taskforce recommendations

The National Clinical Evidence Taskforce (the Taskforce) has released treatment recommendations for the use of both Paxlovid and Lagevrio. The Taskforce’s latest recommendation on the use of Lagevrio is ‘Do not routinely use molnupiravir for the treatment of COVID-19.’

The Taskforce has stated that there may be specific circumstances for the highest risk patients, where all other treatment options are contraindicated or inappropriate, in which non-routine use of Lagevrio might be considered. See the Taskforce’s rationale for the updated recommendations.

Please note that the PBS eligibility for both medicines is broader than the Taskforce recommendations.


Evusheld (tixagevimab and cilgavimab) has been provisionally approved by the TGA  for the prevention of COVID-19 in people who are at risk of infection but have not been exposed to the virus (pre-exposure prevention of COVID-19).

Provisional approval has been granted for pre-exposure prophylaxis of COVID-19 in people aged 12 years and older weighing at least 40 kg:

  • who have moderate-to-severe immune compromise due to a medical condition or receipt of immunosuppressive medications or treatments that make it likely that they will not mount an adequate immune response to COVID-19 vaccination; or
  • for whom vaccination is not recommended due to a history of severe adverse reaction to a COVID‐19 vaccine or COVID‐19 vaccine component.
Pre-exposure prevention with Evusheld is not a substitute for vaccination in people for whom COVID-19 vaccination is recommended.

Evusheld is not currently listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). Evusheld is distributed via the National Medical Stockpile to state and territory governments. Information on access to this medicine can be found via each state/territory health department website.

The Department of Health has published guidance on the use of Evusheld.

Mandatory isolation requirements for COVID-19 positive people has now ceased, with each jurisdiction implementing the change via relevant public health legislation. Exceptions apply for workers in aged care, disability care, aboriginal healthcare and hospital care sectors.

See current requirements and advice in each state and territory below:

State / Territory Information for confirmed cases  Information for contacts 
Australian Capital Territory Access here Access here
New South Wales  Access here Access here
Northern Territory  Access here Access here
Queensland  Access here Access here
South Australia  Access here Access here
Tasmania  Access here Access here
Victoria  Access here Access here
Western Australia  Access here Access here




Most people who test positive for COVID-19 will likely only experience mild symptoms and recover without requiring special treatment or hospitalisation, especially if fully vaccinated. Patients can use the most relevant information in the RACGP’s COVID-19 patient guide to self-manage their illness at home. An online version is now accessible from the same page.

Healthdirect has launched an online tool (based on our COVID-19 patient guide) to help COVID-19-positive patients know what they should do while isolating at home and when to seek medical help. People with COVID-19 are advised that if they are worried about their symptoms, but it is not an emergency, they should use the COVID-19 Symptom Checker or call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 for free information and advice.

The Department of Health (DoH) has also published information for people who test positive for COVID-19 or are close contacts in 63 languages.

People can also access state specific guidance via their state or territory health department website:

You may consider linking these resources from your practice website and sharing them via your practice’s social media accounts.

Information pack for multicultural communities

The Department of Health has published an information pack for multicultural communities about COVID-19, translated into 63 languages.

Information in the pack includes:

  • COVID-19 health and safety tips

  • Rapid antigen tests (RATs)

  • Testing positive for COVID-19

  • Oral treatments for COVID-19

Access the pack

New in-language Rapid Antigen Test resources  

The Department of Health has released a COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) communications pack for multicultural audiences. The pack contains links to in-language communication resources, with information about rapid antigen tests including:  

  • where to get RATs 

  • how to use RATs 

  • understanding RAT results 

  • what to do if a RAT result is positive. 

Resources include animations, posters, social tiles and fact sheets. 

Access the pack

Telehealth consultations requiring an interpreter:

The RACGP has released a guide to support GPs conduct telehealth consultations with patients requiring an interpreter

The Australian Government’s Translation and Interpreting Service (TIS) has a Doctor’s Priority Line, and as a GP you are eligible for a free TIS code. If not already registered, general practices can register by calling 1300 131 450 or by visiting the TIS website

Resources for GPs:


National multilingual resources:

  • Healthdirect COVID clarity – in-language COVID-19 guidance
  • Maridulu Budyari Gumal SPHERE – 36 multilingual fact sheets containing medical advice and instructions during COVID-19 covering Arthritis, Asthma, Cardiovascular Health, Diabetes and Stroke translated into Arabic, Chinese, Chinese (Standard and Simplified), Greek, Italian and Vietnamese
  • Ethnolink Information in your language - translated information from federal, state, territory and local government and the World Health Organization
  • SBS Coronavirus information in your language – news and information about COVID-19 in 63 languages
  • Department of Home Affairs COVID-19 in your language – information on the current outbreak in multiple languages
  • Department of Health Translated resources – fact sheets and posters on the current outbreak in multiple languages
  • MyAus COVID-19 App – a multilingual resource for CALD communities on COVID-19 and available supports

State and territory multilingual resources:

New South Wales:



Emergency COVID-19 planning for people with disability and COVID-19 oral treatments

People with disability can benefit from a COVID-19 plan that is tailored to their unique support needs. The COVID-19 Person-centred Emergency Planning (PCEP) guide helps people with disability to get the facts about Coronavirus (COVID-19) and make a plan for how they will manage if they contract COVID-19.
The PCEP guide was recently updated to recommend that people with disability speak to their GP about COVID-19 oral treatments.
Speaking to patients about the suitability of COVID-19 oral treatments for them and how they could access their treatments, before they contract COVID-19, can help them be prepared.

You can share the PCEP guide with people with disability (and their supporters) who may benefit from developing a COVID-19 plan. The PCEP guide is available in Standard English and Easy Read.
The Department of Health recently held a webinar on COVID-19 oral treatments and winter preparedness webinar for people with disability, which can be accessed on the Department’s website.
Information on oral treatments for COVID-19 is available Department of Health and RACGP websites. The Department also held a forum on COVID-19 treatments for primary care clinicians in early April. A recording of this session can be accessed here.

Guidelines for the rights of people with disability during COVID-19

Guidelines have been developed by the Australian Human Rights Commission to support the rights of people with disability during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
The guidelines are designed to assist healthcare, disability services and support workers to take a human rights-based approach to decision-making during the pandemic. 

COVID-19 Health Professionals National Disability Advisory Service

GPs and other health professionals caring people with disability can now access a telephone advisory service being piloted to provide specialised clinical advice during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The COVID-19 Health Professionals National Disability Advisory Service (managed by Healthdirect Australia on behalf of the Australian Department of Health) provides specialised advice regarding the care of a person with disability diagnosed with COVID-19 or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Some people with disability may require reasonable adjustments to their healthcare to ensure they receive, either COVID-19 testing or treatment, with minimum distress. The Advisory Service can provide specific support required to address communication and management issues, such as behaviours of concern and the reduction of risk to the patient and staff involved in the process.

The Advisory Service is staffed by health professionals with disability service qualifications and experience working with people with disability. To access the service call 1800 131 330. The service is available between 7.00 am - 11.00 pm (AEST) seven days a week. 

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)


Australian Government information/resources


Disability organisations

Disability service providers



National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) resources

The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) are leading a COVID-19 Taskforce (the Taskforce) which includes government and member representatives.

It is recommended that members monitor the NACCHO Coronavirus site for updates and subscribe to the NACCHO Communique for the latest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector news and information on COVID-19.

Recommendations for healthcare teams supporting prevention and management of COVID-19 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

The RACGP, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), Lowitja Institute and Australian National University (ANU) are working together to develop a series of rolling, evidence-based recommendations to assist healthcare teams with the prevention and management of COVID-19 in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and other primary care settings.

The guidance is available now through NACCHO’s online COVID-19 information hub and includes:

Australian Indigenous Doctors Association (AIDA) resources

Access to information and resources from the Australian Indigenous Doctors Association (AIDA) from the AIDA website.   

AIDA are conducting twice-weekly peer support forums for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors. Please contact for log-in details. 


Department of health resources

The Department of Health have released Coronavirus (COVID-19) resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and remote communities.

Management Plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Populations

The ‘Management Plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Populations’ has been developed by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Advisory Group on COVID-19 and endorsed by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC).

The Management Plan outlines key issues and considerations in planning, response and management of COVID-19 that need to be addressed at all levels of governance, in collaboration with key partners and stakeholders, including impacted communities.

Caring for yourself

During events such as the current coronavirus situation, additional pressure may be placed on GPs and practice staff as frontline workers through increased patient attendance to the practice, responding to fear and anxiety amidst the community and staying up to date as the situation evolves.

It is important during such times that GPs and practice staff take time to care for themselves and take the opportunity to debrief with colleagues. If you require additional support, services are available, specifically developed for doctors.

The Essential Network (TEN) for frontline workers

This new online e-mental health hub, developed by the Black Dog Institute, connects frontline healthcare workers with services to cope with the stress of the ongoing pandemic.   


You can also access support via the DRS4DRS website and state/territory based helplines. DRS4DRS is an independent program providing confidential support and resources to doctors and medical students across Australia, by doctors. Confidential phone advice is available 24/7 for any doctor or medical student in Australia via each state/territory helpline and referral service.


Hand-n-Hand Peer Support

Helping Australian & New Zealand Nurses and Doctors (Hand-n-Hand) was founded as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the growing emotional burden that came with it.

Hundreds of people across the healthcare sector have now signed up to be a part of the growing peer support movement. Visit their website to find out more and get involved.

RACGP GP Support Program

Should you need support, don't hesitate to contact the RACGP GP Support Program. This is a free and confidential psychological support service available to all members, delivered by LifeWorks Access the service by calling 1300 361 008 (24 hours/7 days).

Immediate 24/7 supports

Beyond Blue Support Service - 1300 22 4636
Lifeline Crisis Support - 13 11 14

Providing mental health and wellbeing support to your patients

 GPs play a critical role in the ongoing mental health and wellness of their patients. 

The General Practice Mental Health Standards Collaboration (GPMHSC) has collated important information to help you support and care for the mental health and wellbeing of your patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This includes:

  • Mental health resources - resources, factsheets and guides
  • Telehealth consultations - information on MBS item numbers for the provision of telehealth (videoconferencing and phone) consultations by GPs with and without mental health training.


Aged Care COVID-19 Grief and Bereavement Service

Do you or your practice provide care in residential aged care or for home care recipients?

Aged care residents, home care recipients, their families, loved ones and staff affected by loss or trauma as a result of COVID-19 can now access free grief, loss and bereavement support services.

Tailored, easy-to-access support is available via the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement, including in-person help when possible.

Call 1800 222 220 or visit the Aged Care COVID-19 Grief and Bereavement Service website for help, or to download the MyGrief app. All services are inclusive, confidential, and eligible for the Translating and Interpreting Service and Auslan.



As COVID-19 transmission prevention measures are removed, use of face masks in general practice is no longer nationally mandated. In the event jurisdictions remove mask mandates in general practice, the RACGP strongly encourages practices to continue mask use for the practice team, patients, and visitors. Practices can make it a condition of entry to the practice to wear a mask.  

You can display RACGP developed posters to inform patients of mask requirements, as well as noting this on your practice website, online booking system and phone holding message. It is suggested that this requirement is also outlined in your practice’s infection prevention and control policy and COVID Safety Plan (a COVID Safety Plan template is available here).

Processes must be in place to facilitate access to care for patients who are not able to wear a mask or who are deaf or hard of hearing and who cannot communicate with clinicians who are wearing a mask. These processes will depend on capacity within the practice and may include use of telehealth (telephone or video), temporary removal of mask during face-to-face consultations with those who are hard of hearing (in the absence of respiratory symptoms, with social distancing in place and noting the clinicians own risk factors and comfort), use of written notes to communicate or, if no other approach is workable, assisting the patient in seeking healthcare via another GP.

Current mask requirements/recommendations in each state/territory are: 

Ordering PPE and pulse oximeters 

General Practice PPE and Pulse Oximeter Order Forms are available via your PHN, who will continue to be your point of contact for submitting orders. 

The Department of Health has published information on the process of ordering PPE and Pulse Oximeteres, which also outlines the eligibility criteria for accessing different supply bundles.