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Can I go for a walk? Exactly what exercise you can and can't do outside right now.

If there was a word to sum up the COVID-19 pandemic so far – beyond horrifying – it would be uncertain.

There is no universal rule as to what we can and can’t do, who we can and can’t visit, what will or won’t happen.

There is a myriad of expert and authoritative voices, often saying different things. The only thing everyone knows for sure is the daily routines of all Australians has been entirely upended.

On Tuesday night, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced further restrictions on non-essential facilities as part of the extreme measures Australia is adopting to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Watch: Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s national address on Tuesday, March 24. Post continues after video.

Video by Channel 10

Here is exactly what the shutdown measures across Australia mean for going outside.

Can I go for a walk right now in Australia?

Yes. No restriction has been placed on going for a walk outside if you have not been overseas recently and you have not been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

If you do go outside for a walk or run, you are advised to continue to practise social distancing (stay 1.5 metres away from other people), maintain good hygiene and wash your hands before and after leaving the house.

Importantly, do not congregate in groups in outdoor spaces and avoid stopping to have face-to-face conversations with people. As of March 24, the official limit on groups of people outside is 10 people.

Can I go for a walk
Physical exercise is still really important. Image: Getty.

Remember that with the government's shutdown restrictions, we are all spending significantly more time inside than normal, and hence physical exercise is really important.

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So whether you go for a walk, run or cycle, or do an at-home workout, don't forget to move your body - at a distance of 1.5 metres from everyone else, of course!

I arrived from overseas less than 14 days ago. Can I go for a walk if I'm self-isolating?

This isn't entirely clear. The Federal Government has provided no specific advice on walking, but says those in self-isolation must not go to public places, unless to seek medical attention.

The government states that for those in a private house, it is safe for you to go into your private garden or courtyard. You can also go onto your balcony if you have one.

As for those in an apartment or hotel, you are permitted to go into a garden if you:

  • wear a surgical mask
  • stay 1.5 metres away from other people
  • move quickly through common areas

If you are in NSW, the government states: "You are also allowed to leave their house to go for a walk or exercise outdoors if you are well and you stay away from other people."

For all Australians, you are required to self-isolate for 14 days if you arrived in Australia from midnight March 15, or if you think you may have been in close contact with a confirmed case of coronavirus.

I have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Can I go for a walk outside?

Again, no. You must stay home, unless to seek medical care.

When it comes to going for a walk outside, the same rules apply to you as those who are required to self-isolate.

For more information for those diagnosed with coronavirus, and how to keep up your spirits while in home isolation, visit the Australian Government's advice here.

Here are the symptoms of COVID-19 patients. 

If there is a full lockdown, will I be allowed to go for a walk outside?

Yes. Well, it depends.

Let's look at other countries that are currently in lockdown.

In New Zealand, who will be in lockdown as of Wednesday 11:59pm, people can still go for walks outside, but only in their self-isolation groups (the people you live with). This means they are not permitted to meet a friend for a walk in the park, but they can go by themselves.

In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said all those in Britain were allowed to leave the house for just one form of exercise a day, and only with members of your household. "Parks will remain open for exercise but gatherings will be dispersed," Johnson said.

In Italy, there are different restrictions for different regions, and the lockdown measures have become stricter as the infection has spread. In Lombardy, the region in Italy that is the hardest hit by COVID-19, residents can no longer exercise outside or walk their dogs more than 200 metres from their house. People have been charged for violating lockdown limitations.

Read more about COVID-19:

The Australian Government Department of Health advises that the only people who will be tested for COVID-19 are those with symptoms who have either returned from overseas in the past 14 days or been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case in the past 14 days.

If you are sick and believe you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your GP ahead of time to book an appointment. Or call the national Coronavirus Health Information Line for advice on 1800 020 080. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

To keep up to date with the latest information, please visit the Department of Health website.

Feature Image: Getty.


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