“As you will no doubt be aware, [coronavirus] has affected many around the world, including Australians both at home and overseas,” the letter says, listing sore throat, fever, cough and shortness of breath as possible signs of the disease.
“It can however have serious consequences for a percentage of cases, particularly the elderly and vulnerable.”
The letter urges the public to keep up-to-date through official government sources, including Smart Traveller and the Department of Health.
“The Australian government has increased screening measures for international arrivals and banned non-Australian citizens arriving from highly affected countries,” the letter says.
Prevention tips listed across the advertising campaign include washing hands frequently with soap and water,, and avoiding contact with other people when feeling unwell.
The official advice also recommends tests for coronavirus should only be taken by those who have symptoms and have recently returned from overseas or have been in direct contact with someone confirmed to have the disease.
“Containing the spread of an infection like [coronavirus] comes down to every Australian playing their part by looking after their own hygiene, looking out for each other, and staying informed.”
The letter will feature The Sun-Herald, The Sunday Age, Sunday Telegraph, Herald Sun and the Monday edition of The Australian, as well as Sunday papers in Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Launceston, Canberra and across the Northern Territory.
Versions of this advice will also feature on more than 2200 outdoor advertising sites across bus and train stations and shopping centres, as well as spots on radio, digital and social media.
A 30-second video advertisement from agency Carbon Creative called “Good Hygiene Starts Here” reiterates the three steps.
The advertising campaign will be reviewed and updated as the medical advice from Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy changes.
Rob Harris is the National Affairs Editor for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based at Parliament House in Canberra
Jennifer Duke is an economics correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based at Parliament House in Canberra.