COVID-19 pandemic in Australia
The COVID-19 pandemic in Australia is part of the ongoing worldwide pandemic of the coronavirus disease 2019 caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. The first confirmed case in Australia was identified on 25 January 2020, in Victoria, when a man who had returned from Wuhan, China, tested positive for the virus SARS-CoV-2.
Australian borders were closed to all non-residents on 20 March. Social distancing rules were imposed on 21 March, and state governments started to close 'non-essential' services. "Non-essential services" included social gathering venues such as pubs and clubs but unlike many other countries did not include most business operations such as construction, manufacturing and many retail categories.
The number of new cases initially grew sharply, then levelled out at about 350 per day around 22 March, and started falling at the beginning of April to under 20 cases per day by the end of the month. A second wave of infections in Victoria commenced in late June and is currently ongoing, instigated by a breakdown in hotel quarantine protocols.
As of 2 August 2020, 17,923 cases and 208 deaths had been reported in Australia, with the highest number of cases being in Victoria.
BackgroundA novel coronavirus that caused a respiratory illness was identified in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, in December 2019, and was reported to the World Health Organization on 31 December 2019, which confirmed its concern on 12 January 2020. WHO declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January, and a pandemic on 11 March.
The case fatality rate of COVID-19 is much lower than that of SARS, a related disease which emerged in 2002, but its transmission has been significantly greater, leading to a much greater total death toll.
January 2020On 23 January, biosecurity officials began screening arrivals on flights from Wuhan to Sydney. Passengers were given an information sheet and asked to present themselves if they had a fever or suspect they might have the disease.
On 25 January, the first case of a SARS-CoV-2 infection was reported, that of a Chinese citizen who arrived from Guangzhou on 19 January. The patient was tested and received treatment in Melbourne. On the same day, three other patients tested positive in Sydney after returning from Wuhan.
Nine cases were recorded in January. From 31 January, foreign nationals returning from China were required to have spent a fortnight in a third country before being allowed into Australia.
February 2020By 6 February, three returning members from a tour group in Wuhan were identified in Queensland.
Twenty-four Australians were infected on the Diamond Princess cruise ship with eight being sent to Darwin for two weeks of quarantine. The number repatriated from the ship are included in the state totals as follows: Qld, SA, Vic, WA.
On 27 February, the prime minister activated the Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus, stating that the rapid spread of the virus outside of China had prompted the government to elevate its response.
On 29 February, after a Queensland case of an infected person returning to Australia from Iran, the government extended the enforced quarantine to people who had been in Iran, requiring them to spend a fortnight in third country before being allowed into Australia. There were 14 new cases in February, bringing the number of cases to 23.
Week 1On 1 March, Australia reported the first death from COVID-19: a 78-year-old Perth man, who was one of the passengers from the Diamond Princess, and who had been evacuated and was being treated in Western Australia.
On 2 March, four new cases were reported, two of which were the first cases of community transmission of the virus. These two cases were acquired in Australia whereas all other previous cases were imported from another country. The two cases were in New South Wales: one was acquired from a close relative and the other was a health care worker in Western Sydney. Another confirmed case on this day was a 40-year-old man from Launceston who came back on 29 February from a flight which left Melbourne and landed in Launceston on the same day. He was treated at the Launceston General Hospital as he became the first Coronavirus case in Tasmania.
On 4 March, a second death was reported, a 95-year-old woman dying at a Sydney aged-care facility.
On 7 March, Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos confirmed during a press conference that a doctor in Victoria had tested positive for COVID-19. The doctor in his 70s had returned to Australia from the United States on 29 February. From 2 to 6 March, the doctor had consulted approximately 70 patients at The Toorak Clinic in Melbourne and two patients at an aged-care facility. The clinic was closed over the weekend and patients were contacted to self-isolate. Health officials sought to notify passengers on the doctor's flights. The doctor believed he only had a mild cold and was fit to return to work, hitting back at the minister for her comments.
Week 2On 8 March, an 82-year-old man died, becoming the second death at the Dorothy Henderson Lodge aged-care facility and the third death in the country.
On 9 March, the principal of Carey Baptist Grammar confirmed that one of the teachers at their Kew campus was infected with the virus. This teacher, a woman in her 50s, was confirmed to be the partner of an individual who was on the same flight from the US that the GP of Toorak Clinic was on.
On 11 March, the head of the Museum of Old and New Art, David Walsh, cancelled the MONA FOMA winter arts festival. In a statement, David Walsh stated "I know that will murder an already massacred tourism environment, but I feel like I have no choice."
On 12 March, the ACT announced its first case, the 142nd case in Australia. A man in his 30s had not travelled overseas but did travel outside of the ACT. Actor Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson advised that they had tested positive and were in isolation.
Later that day, an initial $17.6billion stimulus package was unveiled by the Prime Minister to "protect Australians' health, secure jobs and set the economy to bounce back" from the crisis. West Australian health minister Roger Cook has informed the public that the Western Australian Department of health is postponing upgrades at Peel Health Campus to accommodate patients with the virus. There were concerns that the upgrade would temporarily halve the ED waiting room capacity, preventing isolation of ED patients from patients with the virus. The upgrade has been postponed to 1 October 2020.
Victoria confirmed nine new cases, one of which was the first case of human-to-human transmission in the state. A McLaren Formula One team member on the now-cancelled Australian Grand Prix tested positive for the virus. This brought the Victorian total to 36 and the national total to 175. Peter Dutton the Home Affairs Minister for Australia was diagnosed in Queensland. The Victorian government declared they are suspending all jury trials to limit the spread of the virus.
Week 3On 10 March, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews warned Victorians to expect "extreme measures" in the wake of the federal government updating the travel advice for Italy. These could include cancelling major sporting events, requiring entire economic sectors to work from home, and calling recently retired health professionals to return to work.
On 16 March, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews declared a state of emergency until 13 April. The State of Emergency was subsequently extended.
The University of Queensland stopped all teaching for the week after three students tested positive for the virus. Western Australia introduced similar measures as New South Wales, preventing schools from organising gatherings of over 500. Susan McDonald, a Queensland senator, confirmed being infected with the virus. New South Wales Liberal senator, Andrew Bragg, was the third Australian politician to test positive. On 18 March, a human biosecurity emergency was declared by the Governor-General, David Hurley, under Section 475 of the Biosecurity Act 2015.
The cruise ship docked in Sydney on 18 March and discharged about 3,500 passengers. 79 passengers had tested positively for the virus by 1 April. also docked on 18 March. On 2 April, 34 passengers and 5 crew members had tested positively for the virus in New South Wales alone. docked on 19 March. On 2 April 11 cases had tested positively for the virus in New South Wales alone.
The cruise ship discharged 2,700 passengers in Sydney on 19 March. It was announced on 20 March that three of 13 passengers tested positive for the coronavirus. New South Wales health authorities asked all passengers to go into self-isolation.
Also on 19 March, Qantas confirmed it would suspend about 60% of domestic flights, put two thirds of its employees on leave, suspend all international flights and ground more than 150 of its aircraft from the end of March until at least 31 May 2020 following expanded government travel restrictions in response to COVID-19.
On 22 March, the government announced a second stimulus package of A$66bn, increasing the amount of total financial package offered to A$89bn. This included several new measures; most notably a coronavirus supplement of an extra per fortnight of income support, and relaxed eligibility criteria for individuals on Jobseeker Payment, and grants of up to A$100,000 for small and medium-sized businesses.
Week 4On 24 March, one passenger from Ruby Princess had died and 133 on the ship had tested positive. On 28 March, 284 passengers had tested positive.
On 25 March, the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission was established by the Prime Minister, as a strategic advisory body for the national response to the pandemic. The NCCC's role includes providing advice on public-private partnerships and coordination to mitigate the social and economic impacts of the pandemic.
Week 5The cruise ship docked at Fremantle on 27 March. Most of the 850 passengers flew home from Perth to Germany on 28–29 March. 41 passengers and crew tested positive to COVID-19 and were being treated in Perth hospitals. When the cruise departed on 18 April, 79 of Western Australia's 541 cases were passengers and crew off the Artania with one death acknowledged as being a crew member from the Philippines.
As of 30 March, at least 440 passengers from Ruby Princess had tested positive for the virus. As of 31 March 2020, five of them had died, one in the Australian Capital Territory, two in Tasmania, one in New South Wales and one in Queensland.
The same day, the Australian Government announced its largest economic support package in response to the crisis, a $130 billion "JobKeeper" wage subsidy program. This figure was later revised to $70 billion when an error of estimation came to light. The JobKeeper program would pay employers up to $1500 a fortnight per full-time, part-time or casual employee that has worked for that business for over a year, if the business fits criteria involving a loss of turnover as a result of the pandemic.
On the evening of 31 March, six baggage handlers from Adelaide Airport had tested positive. As a result, up to 100 other staff from the airport were required to self-isolate, causing cancellations of flights to and from Adelaide.
April 2020On 1 April, the Western Australian State Government introduced intrastate travel restriction, limiting movements between the regions of Western Australia.
On 2 April, the number of cases in Victoria exceeded 1,000, including over 100 healthcare workers.
On 5 April, New South Wales Police launched a criminal investigation into whether the operator of Ruby Princess, Carnival Australia, broke the Biosecurity Act 2015 and New South Wales state laws, by deliberately concealing COVID-19 cases.
On 6 April, the Department of Health revealed that 2,432 people recovered from the infection as the federal government started reporting recovery statistics. This is more than a third from the official number reported so far, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly stating, "I think it is important. Firstly it really reinforces that message, which is a true one, that most people who get this disease do recover”. The day before, at 3pm, it was announced that 2,315 of the 5,687 confirmed coronavirus cases had recovered.
On 11 April, the charity Anglicare was advised of an outbreak at its Newmarch House aged care nursing home in Caddens, New South Wales. On 14 April, the outbreak was linked to an infected staff member with minor symptoms, but who attended work for six shifts. Ten residents and five other staff tested positive for coronavirus. On 27 and 28 April, four residents of the home died in less than 24 hours, bringing to eleven the number of residents who had died from COVID-19 since 11 April. By 9 May, there have been 69 COVID-19 cases linked to the facility, 32 staff and 37 residents. On 19 May the 19th resident died from coronavirus.
On 13 April, the Tasmanian government closed the North West Regional Hospital and North West Private Hospital for cleaning, and put the entire staff of over 1000 people and their families into quarantine.
On 15 April, a Western Australian man became the first person in Australia to be jailed for breaking a self-isolation directive.
On 30 April 2020, the ACT declared itself to be free of all known cases of COVID-19, the first Australian jurisdiction. However, on 4 May there was a one new case, a young woman who acquired the virus overseas. On 10 May, the ACT was again free of active COVID-19 cases.
May 2020An outbreak in Victoria at a meatworks, later revealed to be Cedar Meats, was announced on 2 May with eight cases. By 8 May, the cluster of cases linked to Cedar Meats in Victoria was 71, consisting of at least 57 workers and 13 close contacts, including a nurse, aged care worker and high school student. The number had increased to 75 by 9 May, 88 by 13 May, and 90 by 14 May.
On 9 May, two Victorian cases were announced to be related to McDonald's Fawkner. By 18 May, this had increased to 12 cases, and on that day it was revealed that a delivery driver had tested positive, prompting the closing for cleaning of 12 more McDonald's locations: Melton East, Laverton North, Yallambie, Taylors Lakes, Campbellfield, Sunbury, Hoppers Crossing, Riverdale Village, Sandown, Calder Highway Northbound/Outbound, Calder Highway Southbound/Inbound, and BP Rockbank Service Centre Outbound.
As of 15 May in New South Wales, some restrictions on public gatherings were eased. After being restricted to take-away only since March, free standing cafes and restaurants, and those inside pubs and clubs, were allowed some sit-down dining. Bars and gaming areas remained closed. Ten people were permitted in restaurants and cafes, social distancing rules still had to be followed. Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people were allowed. Up to 10 guests were permitted at weddings, funerals could have up to 20 mourners indoors, 30 outdoors. Up to 10 people were allowed at indoor religious gatherings.
On 15 May, South Australia became the second jurisdiction, after the ACT, to be free of any active cases, however on 26 May, a woman returning from overseas who was granted exemption into South Australia from her hotel quarantine in Victoria tested positive for COVID-19. This was the first new case in 19 days for the state. On 4 June, it was announced that the woman had recovered and the state was free of any active cases once again.
On 17 May, Victoria announced two further business sites had been shut down due to a suspected case at each. Domino's Pizza in Fairfield has been shut for two weeks, and mattress manufacturer The Comfort Group in Deer Park was closed from Friday 15 May to at least Wednesday 20 May.
On 19 May, in New South Wales, another resident of Newmarch House nursing home died from coronavirus. This brought COVID-19 related deaths at the nursing home to nineteen and the national death toll to 100.
On 21 May, the Northern Territory had also announced that there were no more active cases left in the jurisdiction.
June 2020On 6 June, both New South Wales and Victoria reported no new cases for the previous 24 hours, with only Queensland and Western Australia reporting one new case each, the lowest national total since February. Western Australia also announced two old cases. However, the new case in Queensland was linked to the Rydges on Swanston cluster in Melbourne when a man who travelled from Melbourne to Brisbane on Virgin flight VA313 on 1 June tested positive.
On 7 June, a man travelling from overseas to the Australian Capital Territory was diagnosed with coronavirus. This was the Territory's first new COVID-19 case in more than a month, with the last reported case being on 4 May. By 17 June, this case had recovered and there were no longer any more active cases in the Territory once again.
On 12 June, there were no longer any active cases in Tasmania.
On 20 June, the Victorian Government announced the re-tightening of restrictions on household gatherings following a spike in community transmitted cases over the previous week, reported to be mainly caused by family-to-family transmission in large household gatherings. From June 22, households can once again only have five visitors; and most easing of restrictions that were to take place were postponed. The same day restrictions were re-tightened in Victoria, the Western Australian Government announced the state would move into "Phase 4" from June 27, permitting some of the most relaxed restrictions in the country. The listed restrictions included a reduction of the four square metre rule for enclosed venues to two square metres, as well as the allowance of 50% capacity limits for large venues such as Optus Stadium which seats 60,000 patrons at full capacity.
On 30 June, the Victorian Government re-enforced local lockdowns across 10 different Melbourne postcodes. Residents in these postcodes will need to comply with the four acceptable reasons to leave their houses: shopping for essentials; for medical or compassionate needs; exercise in compliance with the public gathering restriction of two people; and for work or education purposes.
July 2020On 2 July the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced the "Judicial Inquiry Into Hotel Quarantine Program". This follows some cases of coronavirus in Victoria being linked by genomic sequencing to a breach in hotel quarantine infection control. The Inquiry will "… examine the operation of Victoria’s hotel quarantine program for returning travellers." It will be headed by retired judge Jennifer Coate, and is scheduled to deliver its report to the Governor by 25 September. Andrews noted that "it is abundantly clear that what has gone on here is completely unacceptable and we need to know exactly what has happened."
On 4 July, the Victorian Government announced an additional two postcodes affected by the lockdown until 29 July 2020. Furthermore, nine public housing towers housing 3,000 residents were added, with the additional condition that residents cannot leave the tower under any circumstances for five days, with the possibility of extension to 14 days.
From 5 July, at the request of the NSW Government, the Federal Government introduced restrictions on the number of passengers arriving at Sydney Airport. A maximum of 50 passengers per flight, and 450 international arrivals per day was set.
On 6 July, the Victorian and NSW governments announced that their interstate border would be closed from the start of 8 July.
On 7 July, after recording 191 new cases, Andrews announced that metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire would re-enter lockdown for a minimum of six weeks from 12 a.m. on 9 July.
On 11 July, the NSW Government announced that compulsory hotel quarantine, previously free to international arrivals, would now be charged for from 18 July. Those already in quarantine will not be charged, nor will those who purchased flights and had a confirmed international arrival date before 11:59 pm 12 July 2020 AEST.
On 14 July, because of an increase in new cases, the NSW Government announced tightened preventative measures, and introduced new requirements for pubs. Effective as of 17 July, the new rules include per-table seating reduced from 20 to 10 and a maximum number of 300 persons in any venue.
On 18 July it was announced that a sitting of Federal Parliament, scheduled for the first 2 weeks of August, had been cancelled. Medical advice said there was a "significant risk" if members were to return to Canberra from all over Australia. Parliament is now scheduled to return on 24 August.
On 19 July in Victoria, Andrews announced that "face coverings" were to be made mandatory in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire when residents leave their home. Enforcement will begin after 11.59 pm on Wednesday 22 July to allow time to acquire a face covering. A fine of will apply to those not complying, though there are some exemptions. In addition, the State of Emergency in Victoria was extended until 11.59 pm on 16 August 2020.
On 20 July, the number of daily overseas arrivals allowed at Sydney Airport was reduced from 450 to 350.
Also on 20 July, it was announced that the Coronavirus Supplement and JobKeeper subsidy would be extended, but in altered form at a lower rate, beyond 24 September.
From 22 July in Victoria, announced on 19 July, visitations in aged care/ health care settings will be restricted to carers only and a limit of one hour per day.
In late July billionaire businessman Clive Palmer claimed that the closing of the borders by the Western Australian government was unconstitutional and launched a legal challenge in the Federal Court. In response the Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan labelled Palmer an enemy of the state. Palmer also claimed that the border closure would "destroy the lives of hundreds of thousands of people for decades" and compared the death toll of COVID-19 with that of road accidents and influenza.
August 2020On 2 August in Victoria, a state of disaster was declared effective from 6 pm that day. Restrictions were to be tightened including a curfew across Melbourne from 8:00pm to 5:00am. Melbourne is to move to stage 4 and regional Victoria stage 3 restrictions.
Scott Morrison withdrew support of Clive Palmer's legal challenge on 2 August after receiving a public backlash on his previous supportive stance. Mark McGowan praised the Commonwealth for its withdrawal and indicated the Western Australian government would continue to fight the case and urging Palmer to withdraw the case.
Cumulative casesThe numbers of cases in the tables below referred to the number of cases at the end of each day until 4 April 2020. Since 5 April 2020, the federal government standardised the daily case number release time to 15:00 AEST which is reflected in the data.
This data has been compiled by recording the daily values from the infographic available under "Current Status" on the Australian Government's Department of Health website. Under National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System reporting requirements, cases are reported based on their Australian jurisdiction of residence rather than where they were detected.
|Cumulative confirmed cases by state, territory & nationally|
Active casesAs of 2 August 2020, there are 6,591 active cases of COVID-19 in Australia. A case is considered active if a person who has contracted COVID-19 has yet to be classified as recovered and has not died. The chart below tracks active cases since 5 April, when the Federal Government began reporting nationwide recovery data. However, since 20 July, the Federal Government began reporting official nationwide active case data and which have been reflected in the chart.
DeathsAs of 2 August 2020, 208 people linked to COVID-19 have died in Australia. At least 136 deaths were residents in aged-care facilities and at least 29 deaths across the country had been passengers or crew on cruise ships.
|Cumulative confirmed deaths by state, territory & nationally|
ClustersCOVID-19 clusters are cases that are known to be related by close contacts. A single cluster may have cases in multiple locations. Some smaller clusters are known to be linked to larger clusters. A cluster may be investigated for days before being announced for the first time. The Victorian Government did not report breakdowns of individual clusters on July 10 due to widespread community transmission becoming entrenched in the metropolitan area. The media release on 11 July did not originally include updated cluster figures, but was later released with the figures included.
|Cluster||Location||State||Cases in cluster||From date||As at date||Details|
|Flemington public housing apartments||Flemington||Victoria||308|
|North Melbourne public housing outbreak||North Melbourne||Victoria||308|
|St Basil's Homes for the Aged||Fawkner||Victoria||136|
|North West Regional Hospital and the North West Private Hospital||Burnie||Tasmania||127||Probably originating from two patients from the Ruby Princess cruise ship.|
|Somerville Meats Retail Services||Tottenham||Victoria||127|
|Epping Gardens Aged Care||Epping||Victoria||122|
|Cedar Meats meatworks||Brooklyn||Victoria||111|
|Estia Health Aged Care, Ardeer||Ardeer||Victoria||106|
|Kirkbrae Presbyterian Homes||Kilsyth||Victoria||101|
|Thai Rock Restaurant, Wetherill Park||Wetherill Park||New South Wales||98||Includes at least 11 cases associated with Our Lady of Lebanon Church. This is currently not linked to the cluster at another Thai Rock restaurant in Potts Point.|
|Estia Health Aged Care, Heidelberg||Heidelberg||Victoria||87|
|Australian Lamb Company||Colac||Victoria||72|
|Anglicare Newmarch House||Kingswood||New South Wales||71||34 staff and 37 residents infected as at 19 May 2020. 19 residents have died.|
|Carlton public housing towers||Carlton||Victoria||67|
|Menarock Life Aged Care||Essendon||Victoria||63|
|Glendale Aged Care facility||Werribee||Victoria||62|
|Outlook Gardens Aged Care||Dandenong North||Victoria||58|
|Crossroads Hotel||Casula||New South Wales||58|
|Aurrum Aged Care, Plenty||Plenty||Victoria||56|
|Baptcare Wyndham Lodge||Werribee||Victoria||54|
|Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne Health Royal Park Campus||Parkville||Victoria||54|
|Arcare Aged Care, Craigieburn||Craigieburn||Victoria||45|
|Stamford Plaza Hotel||Little Collins Street, Melbourne||Victoria||43||Hotel was used to quarantine overseas travellers, however, the outbreak is connected to the security staff, not those quarantined.|
|Two separate clusters including Lyndoch Hill winery||Barossa Valley||South Australia||40|
|Woolworths Distribution Centre||Mulgrave||Victoria||35|
|"Boogie Wonderland" party at the Bucket List and "Kode" party at Club 77||Bondi||New South Wales||34|
|Adelaide Airport baggage handling area||Adelaide Airport||South Australia||33|
|Multiple funeral and church services||Bankstown |
|New South Wales||33||Linked to a woman who attended five different funeral and church services in these suburbs between 16 and 19 July. This includes 9 cases associated with the Mounties Club in Mount Pritchard.|
|LaManna Supermarket||Essendon Fields||Victoria||32|
|Stanwell Tops wedding||Wollongong||New South Wales||31|
|1st North Melbourne family outbreak||Preston|
|Victoria||30||The first case was detected in an H&M, Northland staff member.|
|Roxburgh Park family outbreak||Roxburgh Park||Victoria||28||This cluster was investigated for several days before being announced with 20 cases. The cases are spread across at least eight households.|
|Nino Early Learning Adventures||Bundoora||Victoria||26|
|Linfox Distribution Centre / Warehouse||Truganina||Victoria||26|
|Rose of Sharon Childcare||Blacktown||New South Wales||25|
|Regis Aged Care, Brighton||Brighton||Victoria||25|
|Clever Kids Childcare||Ashburton||Victoria||24|
|Potts Point restaurant clusters||Potts Point||New South Wales||24||This includes 18 cases linked to the Apollo Restaurant and 6 cases linked to the Thai Rock Restaurant in Potts Point. This is currently not linked to the cluster at another Thai Rock restaurant in Wetherill Park.|
|Brunswick Private Hospital||Brunswick||Victoria||22|
|Respite Services Australia||Moonee Ponds||Victoria||22|
|Dorothy Henderson Lodge||Macquarie Park||New South Wales||21|
|Al Kuwait live export ship||Fremantle Harbour||Western Australia||20|
|Embracia Aged Care, Moonee Valley||Avondale Heights||Victoria||20|
|Church meeting||Ryde||New South Wales||19|
|Hazeldean Transition Care, Western Health||Williamstown||Victoria||19|
|Serco, Mill Park||Mill Park||Victoria||19|
|Catholic Regional College||Sydenham||Victoria||18|
|The Sails Restaurant||Noosa Heads||Queensland||17|
|Wollert outbreak||Wollert||Victoria||17||This cluster was first detected at St Monica's College, Epping.|
|Rydges on Swanston||Swanston Street, Carlton||Victoria||16||This is one of the hotels in which overseas travellers are quarantined. This outbreak is connected to the security staff, not those quarantined. On 6 June, a man who was a close contact of this cluster was announced as a new case in Queensland, having travelled to Brisbane on 1 June, then to Bundaberg on 2 June.|
|Truganina family outbreak||Truganina||Victoria|
|The Alfred Hospital||Melbourne||Victoria||16|
|Patterson Lakes & Lysterfield family outbreak||Patterson Lakes|
|Coburg family outbreak||Coburg||Victoria||15||Formerly called the Northern and South Eastern family outbreak. There are cases linked to this outbreak outside of Coburg, in the south eastern suburbs.|
|Albanvale Primary School||Albanvale||Victoria||15|
|St Vincent's Hospital||Fitzroy||Victoria||15|
|Bondi Hardware Restaurant||Bondi||New South Wales||14|
|Golden Farms Poultry||Breakwater||Victoria||14|
|1st Keilor Downs family outbreak||Keilor Downs||Victoria||13||This outbreak is not connected to another family outbreak in Keilor Downs that happened later.|
|McDonald's, Fawkner||Fawkner||Victoria||13||On 7 June, a new case was announced. There had been no increase since 18 May, 20 days before.|
|Goodman Fielder Pampas||West Footscray||Victoria||13|
|Diamond Valley Pork||Laverton North||Victoria||13|
|Deer Park gathering||Deer Park||Victoria||12|
|2nd Keilor Downs family outbreak||Keilor Downs||Victoria||11||This outbreak is not connected to the previous family outbreak in Keilor Downs.|
|My Moovers call centre||Docklands||Victoria||11|
|Aitken Hill Primary||Craigieburn||Victoria||10|
|Don KR Castlemaine||Castlemaine||Victoria||10|
|Aruma Disability Services||Pascoe Vale||Victoria||10|
|Brimbank family outbreak||City of Brimbank||Victoria||9||This is the third family outbreak in Brimbank, the other two being the Keilor Downs family outbreaks.|
|Cenvic Construction Riverina Apartments||Footscray||Victoria||9|
|Melbourne City Mission, Albion||Albion||Victoria||9|
|CraigCare Aged Care Facility||Pascoe Vale||Victoria||9|
|Hugo Boss store, Collins Street||Melbourne||Victoria||8|
|Batemans Bay Soldiers Club||Batemans Bay||New South Wales||8|
|Monash Health patient family outbreak||Unknown||Victoria||7|
|Catch.com Distribution Centre||Truganina||Victoria||7|
|Bingo Recycling||West Melbourne||Victoria||7|
|Opal Aged Care, Bankstown||Bankstown||New South Wales||6|
|Coles distribution centre||Laverton||Victoria||6|
|HWL Ebsworth Lawyers||Melbourne||Victoria||6|
|Malmsbury Youth Justice Centre||Malmsbury||Victoria||6|
|Parkville Youth Justice||Parkville||Victoria||6|
|Three medical clinics||Coburg|
|Victoria||5||A single GP worked at Cedars Medical Clinic in Coburg and Croydon Family Practice on 9 June and at Lilydale Medical Clinic on 11 June while asymptomatic.|
|Maribyrnong family outbreak||City of Maribyrnong||Victoria||5||All cases are in a single household.|
|Optus head office||Melbourne||Victoria||5|
|Debney Meadows Primary School||Flemington||Victoria||5|
|Australian Pharmaceutical Industries||Dandenong South||Victoria||5|
|Japara Central Park Aged Care||Windsor||Victoria||5|
|Laverton Cold Storage||Truganina||Victoria||5|
|Victoria Police sites||Docklands||Victoria||5|
|Camberwell Grammar School||Camberwell||Victoria||4|
|Woolworths Online Fulfillment Centre||Footscray||Victoria||4|
|Waste Equipment and Hiab Services||Ardeer||Victoria||4|
|TD Cabinets||Dandenong South||Victoria||4|
|Royal Children's Hospital||Parkville||Victoria||4|
|Springside Primary School||Caroline Springs||Victoria||3|
|Orygen Youth Health facility||Footscray||Victoria||3|
|PM Fresh facility||Broadmeadows||Victoria||3|
|Bell Collision Repair Centre||Preston||Victoria||3|
|Sims Metal Management||Brooklyn||Victoria||3|
|Base Backpackers||St Kilda||Victoria||3|
|Impact English College||Melbourne||Victoria||3|
|Keilor Downs Secondary College||Keilor Downs||Victoria||2|
|Ascot Vale Primary School||Ascot Vale||Victoria||2|
|Moreland Primary School||Coburg||Victoria||2|
|Maple Early Learning Centre||Mernda||Victoria||2|
|Joan Kirner Women's and Children's Hospital||St Albans||Victoria||2|
|Box Hill Hospital||Box Hill||Victoria||2|
|Mercy Hospital for Women||Heidelberg||Victoria||2|
|Kmart, Endeavour Hills||Endeavour Hills||Victoria||2|
|Serco, Box Hill||Box Hill||Victoria||2|
|Grand Chancellor Hotel||Melbourne||Victoria||2|
|Mecwacare John Atchison Centre||Hoppers Crossing||Victoria||2|
|Twin Parks Aged Care Centre||Reservoir||Victoria||2|
|James Barker House||Footscray||Victoria||2|
Cases by source of infectionThe following table lists the cases by their source of infection per state/territory. High amounts of cases with unknown sources of infection indicates high risk of community transmission and increased difficulty in tracing and stopping the spread of COVID-19. There have been estimated to be around 1,300 cases that have been associated with cruise ships in Australia.
Cases and deaths by age group and genderThe following table represents the number of cases and deaths for each age group and gender. The data is sourced from the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System and the Federal Government.
Federal GovernmentOn 1 February 2020, Australia banned the entry of foreign nationals from mainland China, and ordered its own returning citizens from China to self-quarantine for 14 days. Australia subsequently imposed travel bans on Iran, South Korea, and Italy. A general travel ban, with limited exceptions, on non-citizens and non-residents travelling to Australia and Australians travelling overseas was introduced on 20 March.war cabinet, was created following a meeting of the Council of Australian Governments. This is the first time such a cabinet has been proclaimed since World War II, and the only time in Australian history that a crisis cabinet has included state and territory leaders. The cabinet consists of the premiers and chief ministers of the Australian states and territories and meets weekly during the crisis. At its first meeting on 13 March, the National Cabinet announced that gatherings of more than 500 people should be cancelled from 15 March. Schools, universities, workplaces, public transport and airports were not included in this recommendation. Prime Minister Morrison also announced that he intended to attend a Rugby League match on 14 March; "I do still plan to go to the football on Saturday" but later decided against attending the match.
On 15 March, Morrison announced that from midnight, all travellers arriving in or returning to Australia must self-isolate for 14 days, mirroring a similar requirement imposed by New Zealand. Failure to comply could result in a fine of to and a possible prison sentence, depending on the state. Cruise ships were also barred from docking in the country for 30 days.
On 29 March, the Cabinet agreed to stricter limits to apply from midnight on the 30th: a limit on both indoor and outdoor gatherings of two people except weddings funerals and people of the same household or family; strong guidance to all Australians is to stay home unless for necessary shopping, health care, exercise, and work and study that can't be done remotely; public playgrounds, skate parks and outside gyms to be closed. It was left to individual states to enforce these guidelines. They also agreed to a moratorium on evictions for six months for both commercial and residential tenancies suffering financial distress.
Human biosecurity emergencyOn 18 March 2020, a human biosecurity emergency was declared in Australia owing to the risks to human health posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, after a National Security Committee meeting the previous day. The Biosecurity Act 2015 specifies that the Governor-General may declare such an emergency exists if the Health Minister is satisfied that "a listed human disease is posing a severe and immediate threat, or is causing harm, to human health on a nationally significant scale". This gives the minister sweeping powers, including imposing restrictions or preventing the movement of people and goods between specified places, and evacuations. The Biosecurity Declaration 2020 was declared by the Governor-General, David Hurley, under Section 475 of the Act. The Biosecurity Determination 2020, made by the Health Minister on the same day, forbids international cruise ships from entering Australian ports before 15 April 2020.
On 19 March, Morrison announced that Australia would be closing its borders to all non-residents and non-Australian citizens from 9:00 pm on 20 March. The Australian Government had imposed the ban in coordination with New Zealand, which imposed a ban on most non-residents and non-citizens from midnight on 19 March.
A social distancing rule of per person in any enclosed space was agreed by National Cabinet on 20 March, to be implemented through State and Territory laws. On 22 March 2020, the State governments of New South Wales and Victoria imposed a mandatory closure of non-essential services, while the Governments of Western Australia and South Australia imposed border closures.
On 22 March, Morrison announced a closure of places of social gathering, including registered and licensed clubs, licensed premises in hotels and bars, entertainment venues, including but not restricted to cinemas, casinos and nightclubs and places of worship. Cafes and restaurants could remain open, but were limited to only takeaway food. Similarly, enclosed spaces for funerals and things of that nature will have to follow the strict four square metre rule. These measures were effective immediately at midday, 23 March. Morrison stated that he would like schools to remain open, but parents could keep children at home if they wished to.
On 25 March 2020, the Health Minister made a second determination under the Biosecurity Act 2015, the Biosecurity Determination 2020, which "forbids Australian citizens and permanent residents from leaving Australian territory by air or sea as a passenger".
On 25 April 2020, the Biosecurity Determination 2020, made under subsection 477 of the Act, was signed into law by the Health Minister. The purpose of the new legislation is "to make contact tracing faster and more effective by encouraging public acceptance and uptake of COVIDSafe", COVIDSafe being the new mobile app created for the purpose. The function of the app is to record contact between any two people who both have the app on their phones when they come within of each other. The encrypted data would remain on the phone for 21 days of not encountering a person logged with confirmed COVID-19.
National COVID-19 Coordination CommissionOn 25 March, the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission was established by the Prime Minister as a strategic advisory body for the national response to the pandemic. The NCCC's role includes providing advice on public-private partnerships and coordination to mitigate the social and economic impacts of the pandemic.
On 29 March, Prime Minister Morrison announced in a press conference following a National Cabinet meeting that public gatherings will be limited to two people, while also urging Australians over the age of 70, Australians with chronic illness over the age of 60 and Indigenous Australians over the age of 50 to stay home and self-isolate. Morrison also clarified that there were only four acceptable reasons for Australians to leave their houses: shopping for essentials; for medical or compassionate needs; exercise in compliance with the public gathering restriction of two people; and for work or education purposes.
New South WalesPremier Gladys Berejiklian formed a "war cabinet" to make decisions in relation to the pandemic. Members include herself, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, Minister for Health and Medical Research Brad Hazzard and Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott.
On 15 March, Secretary of the New South Wales Department of Education, Mark Scott ordered that, effective immediately, New South Wales schools introduce social distancing measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus. The order requires schools to cancel all assemblies, excursions, travel, concerts, large inter-school sporting and arts events, and other events that would require students and staff to congregate in large numbers. Schools were to stay open. Four schools in the state have been shut for periods during the crisis due to confirmed cases within their school communities.
On 16 March, New South Wales Minister for Health and Medical Research Brad Hazzard announced that he was using his powers, under Section 7 of the 'Public Health Act 2010', to immediately and indefinitely cancel all public events with more than 500 attendees. The order is enforceable by NSW Police and violations of the order can carry a prison term of six months, an $11,000 fine, or both.
Chief Justice Bathurst, Chief Justice of New South Wales, and Chief Judge Price of the District Court of New South Wales ordered that effective 16 March 2020, new jury trials would be suspended to limit the spread of coronavirus. The order did not apply to already empanelled jury trials. Corrective Services New South Wales implemented screening mechanisms, early flu vaccination programs and stricter hygiene requirements for staff, visitors and inmates to slow the spread of the virus.
The University of Sydney cancelled all graduations, conferences, academic and student organised events. The University of New South Wales announced that it was cancelling all student and academic events until Easter, encourage staff to work from home and, where possible, shift all lectures, tutorials, demonstrations and labs to online learning.
New South Wales schools were directed by the State Department of Education Secretary, Mark Scott, to cancel all assemblies, excursions, travel, and some events and conferences, including arts and initiative events, as well as whole school sporting events and inter-school sporting events with three or more involved schools.
Even though there was a ban on gatherings of more than 500 people, huge crowds flocked to the popular Bondi Beach and other beaches across Sydney on Friday 20 March. Health Minister Greg Hunt said that such behaviour was "unacceptable" while the New South Wales Labor's Shadow Treasurer, Walt Secord urged the government to completely close off the beach. New South Wales Police Minister David Elliott later stated in a televised interview that lifeguards were instructed to keep a head count of the people at the beach and if the number exceeded 500, the beach would be closed. On 21 March, crowds built up yet again which led Waverley Council to temporarily close Bondi, and the other beaches of Bronte and Tamarama.
On 22 March, a public health order was issued that declared Lord Howe Island a public risk area and directed restricted access. As of that date there were no known cases of COVID-19 on Lord Howe Island.
On 30 March, NSW Parliament passed the "COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement" law, which limited public gatherings to two people and directed, "that a person must not, without reasonable excuse, leave the person's place of residence." It listed 16 reasonable excuses and took effect from midnight on March 31.
As of 15 May, some restrictions on public and private gatherings were eased. Private homes were allowed 5 visitors. Free standing cafes and restaurants, and those inside pubs and clubs, were allowed very limited sit-down dining, after being restricted to take-away only since 23 March. Bars and gaming areas remained closed. A maximum of 10 people were permitted in restaurants and cafes, while social distancing rules still had to be followed. Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people were permitted. Up to 10 guests were permitted at weddings, and funerals could have up to 20 mourners indoors, 30 outdoors. Up to 10 people were allowed at indoor religious gatherings such as churches.
From 13 June, private homes were allowed to have up to 20 guests visit, and groups of 20 were allowed to meet outside. Food courts were allowed to open, so long as the 4 square metre per patron rule was kept, and no more than 50 patrons. Indoor gym classes were allowed 10 participants. Up to 100 persons were allowed inside gyms, so long as area requirements were adhered to.
From 1 July, New South Wales eased restrictions further due to the limited community transmission of COVID-19, at that time. No set upper limit on patron numbers at indoor venues, but only one person per 4 square metres. Outdoor venues, with a maximum capacity of 40,000, were allowed up to 25 percent of normal capacity. Events had to be ticketed, patrons seated and follow guidelines. Restriction on funerals eased, but the 4 square metre rule applied. Other existing restrictions, no more than 20 guests inside homes, 20 outside, remained in force. Restrictions were tightened again on 17 July.
From 5 July, the Federal Government introduced restrictions on the number of passengers arriving at Sydney Airport. A maximum of 50 passengers were allowed per flight, and international arrivals were set at 450 per day. This was by request of the NSW Government to reduce pressure on hotel quarantine capacity. More than 32,000 travellers had quarantined in Sydney hotels by this date.
On 6 July, the Victorian and NSW State Governments, jointly announced that their interstate border would be re-closed from the start of 8 July, following a large spike in cases in certain areas of Melbourne.
As of 12:01 am on 17 July, after an increase in cases, new rules for pubs were introduced. Measures included, group bookings and persons at a table were limited to 10, and a maximum of 300 people allowed inside any venue. COVID Safe Hygiene Marshalls to oversee the venues COVID-19 infection prevention were also required, and venue COVID-Safe registration was compulsory. Paper-based sign-ins are allowed, but a digital record of patrons contact details, for contact tracing, must be provided on request. Breaching the rules can result in a fine for the venue, plus another for each day the breach is continued. As of 24 July, the tightened venue restrictions will also be applied to bars, cafes, clubs and restaurants.
Until 18 July, international travellers who had to undergo compulsory quarantine on arrival did not have to pay for their accommodation, at a cost of to the NSW Government. Under new rules announced on 11 July, as of 12.01 am on Saturday 18 July 2020, all new arrivals are being charged for their quarantine. The charge includes meals and room costs, for which one adult will pay A$3,000, additional adults A$1,000, children A$500, and no charge for children under 3 years. Those already quarantined will not have to pay, nor will those who purchased flights, and, had a confirmed international arrival date, before 11:59 pm on 12 July 2020 AEST.
On 20 July, the number of daily overseas arrivals allowed at Sydney Airport was reduced to 350 from the 450 limit set on July 5.
VictoriaOn 10 March, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews warned Victorians to expect "extreme measures" in the wake of the federal government updating the travel advice for Italy. These could include cancelling major sporting events, requiring entire economic sectors to work from home, and calling recently retired health professionals to return to work.
On 16 March, a state of emergency was declared to 13 April. It was extended on 12 April to 11 May, with existing directions remaining in place including staying at home, restrictions on particular activities, detention, restrictions on airports and cruise ships, aged care, hospitals and isolation for people diagnosed with COVID-19. It was extended further on 11 May to 31 May, and again on 19 July to 16 August.
On 22 March, the school holiday was brought forward from 27 to 24 March.
On 14 April 2020, Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos announced that Victoria will have the widest coronavirus testing in Australia, with anyone having COVID-19 symptoms able to get tested. Those who present fever or chills in the absence of any other alternative diagnosis that explains the issue or acute respiratory infection that is characterised by cough, sore throat or shortness of breath should be tested for coronavirus.
On 20 June, the Victorian Government re-tightened restrictions on household gatherings following a spike in community transmitted cases over the previous week, reported to be mainly caused by family-to-family transmission in large household gatherings. From June 22, households can once again only have five visitors; and most easing of restrictions that were to take place were postponed.
On 30 June, the Victorian Government re-enforced local lockdowns across 10 different Melbourne postcodes. Residents there will need to comply with the four acceptable reasons to leave their houses: shopping for essentials; for medical or compassionate needs; exercise in compliance with the public gathering restriction of two people; and for work or education purposes.
On 4 July, the Victorian Government announced two more postcodes affected by the lockdown until 29 July 2020. Nine public housing towers housing 3,000 residents were also added, with the additional condition that residents cannot leave the tower under any circumstances for five days, with the possibility of an extension to 14 days.
On 6 July, the Victorian and NSW state Governments announced that their interstate border would be re-closed from the start of 8 July.
On 7 July, after recording 191 new cases, Premier Andrews announced that metropolitan Melbourne and the Shire of Mitchell would re-enter lockdown from 12am on 9 July, for 6 weeks.
On 19 July, following a "… concerning increase in coronavirus cases …", Premier Andrews announced that "face coverings" were to be made mandatory in metropolitan Melbourne, and Mitchell Shire. This was not enforced until after 11.59pm on Wednesday 22 July to allow the populace time to acquire a face covering. In addition, the State of Emergency in Victoria was extended until 11.59pm on 16 August 2020, to allow for the enforcement of this, and other, public health directions.
From 22 July, as the chance of coronavirus infection remains high in aged care/ health care settings, visitations are restricted to carers only, and with a limit of one hour per day.
From 23 July, the requirement for "face coverings" in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, whenever residents leave their homes, became effective. A fine of will apply to those not complying, though there are medical and other exemptions, such as not being required for children under 12 years of age.
On 2 August a state of disaster was declared in Victoria from 6 pm that day. Restrictions were to be tightened including a curfew across Melbourne from 8:00pm to 5:00am starting immediately. Melbourne is to move to stage 4 and regional Victoria stage 3 restrictions.
QueenslandOn 29 January, Queensland was the first to declare a public health emergency. The legislation was strengthened on 6 February by the Public Health Amendment Bill 2020.
Key directions made under the Public Health Act 2005 include:
- 2 April – A person must not leave their principal place of residence except for essential needs including work, food, medical and exercise, outdoor gatherings only up to 2 persons or with members of household, receiving only to 2 visitors at a residence, and no gatherings in non-residences.
- 9 April – "Non-essential" business, activity or undertaking must not be operated. "Non-esssential" businesses include cinemas, casinos, concerts, indoor sports, gyms, playgrounds, campgrounds, libraries. Restrictions also apply to restaurants, churches, hairdressers etc. However most construction, mining, manufacturing and retail businesses continued to operate.
Closures of areas within Queensland include:
- All camping areas within Queensland national parks, state forests and recreation areas were closed on 26 March.
- Closure of high visitation National Parks including Fraser Island as well as all day use areas and visitor centres on 9 April.
- Closure of Queensland waters to cruise ships on 6 April.
- Closure of Surfers Paradise, Coolangatta and The Spit beaches on 8 April.
Western AustraliaOn 15 March, Premier Mark McGowan declared a state of emergency in Western Australia, along with a formal public health emergency. Schools were prevented from organising gatherings of over 500, including "...swimming and sports carnivals, interschool carnivals, performances, concerts, exhibitions, fetes and fairs."
On 24 March, the state borders were closed and all interstate arrivals were required to self-isolate for 14 days.
On 1 April, regional border restrictions were implemented across Western Australia restricting travel between regions to essential services only. People were given 48 hour warning to return to their home region. At the time the Perth Stadium became the COVID-19 incident response centre for the WA. Within the Kimberley region, movement was further restricted to prevent travel between each of the four local government areas.
On 5 April, all state borders were closed, a strengthening of the previous border rules, all arrivals were quarantined in city hotels for 14 days.
The departed Fremantle on 18 April following a stand off with State and Federal governments over responsibility for the care of passengers and crew. The vessel was sailing for Indonesia and the Philippines before heading back to Europe.
South AustraliaOn 15 March, a public health emergency was declared in South Australia.
On 22 March, a "major emergency" was declared, giving the police power to enforce self-isolation rules.
On 24 March, state borders were closed. People arriving in the state were required to sign a declaration that they would self-isolate for 14 days and provide an address to the police, with penalties for failure to comply.
On 27 March, a direction was made under the Emergency Management Act 2004 to prohibit gatherings of more than 10 people, and a limit of one person per 4 square metres.
Tasmaniain Tasmania closed as a preemptive decision in fear of rising SARS-CoV-2 cases. It was to be closed from 16 March until at least 30 March.
On 17 March, Tasmania declared a public health emergency.
On 19 March, all "non-essential" travellers to the state, including returning residents, were subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
On 12 April 2020, in response to an outbreak in Burnie, business restrictions were put in place for 14 days. It included the closure of most retail businesses except for those providing essential services, or those who can provide online services and home delivery. The North West Regional Hospital and North West Private Hospital were temporarily closed from Monday 13 April 2020, and staff, patients, and visitors since 27 March, were required to self-quarantine for 14 days. The self-quarantine affected up to 5,000 people. Additional testing was announced, and emergency medical teams from the Australian Defence Force were sent to Burnie to cover for hospital staff.
Australian Capital TerritoryOn 16 March, the ACT government declared a public health emergency. All visits to the Alexander Maconochie prison were cancelled from 23 March, but there was "increased access to telephones" for prisoners to keep in touch with their families.
On 18 July it was announced a sitting of Federal Parliament, scheduled for the first 2 weeks of August, had been cancelled. Medical advice was that, due to increased transmission of COVID-19 in Victoria, and the upward trend in NSW as well, there was a "significant risk" if members were to return to Canberra from all over Australia. Prime Minister Morrison requested that the sitting be cancelled. Parliament is now scheduled to return on 24 August.
Northern TerritoryOn 24 March, the Northern Territory government introduced strict border control, with anyone arriving from abroad or interstate being required to self-isolate for 14 days. The only exemption would be due to health and emergency services, defence and policing, flight crews and freight, and based on "compassionate grounds". NT Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker said that the local police and government are likely to impose these measures until September. Anyone now arriving in NT will have to declare that they would isolate for 14 days and let the authorities know of their location during this period at the point of entry. Failure to comply with the new regulations could result in denying entry or a fine of AU$62,800. Furthermore, all non-essential travel to the NT's 76 remote communities was banned.
From midday on 1 May, some internal restrictions in NT were eased.
Jervis Bay Territoryhas not had any confirmed cases. The territory's border with New South Wales was closed and residents were not allowed outside except for essential purposes.
Norfolk Islandhas not had any confirmed cases. As a precautionary measure the government imposed a 32-day travel ban and declared a state of emergency. Administrator Eric Hutchinson stated that the measures were necessary due to the remote island's extremely limited health capacity.
Indian Ocean TerritoriesOn 18 March 2020, Administrator Natasha Griggs declared a state of emergency in the Australian Indian Ocean Territories, comprising Christmas Island and the Cocos Islands. She limited passenger arrivals to local residents and essential staff, and imposed a self-isolation period of 14 days on any arrivals.
EconomicOn 3 March, the Reserve Bank of Australia became the first central bank to cut interest rates in response to the outbreak. Official interest rates were cut by 0.25% to a record low of 0.5%.
On 12 March, the Liberal Party announced a planned 17.6 billion stimulus package. The package consists of multiple parts: a one-off payment to pensioners, social security recipients, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders, payments of 2,00025,000 to affected small businesses, an increase to the threshold for the Instant Asset Write-off Program, tax concessions for investments, a small business 50% wage subsidy for 120,000 trainees and apprentices, and 1 billion in subsidies for heavily effected industries.
On 19 March, the Reserve Bank again cut interest rates by a further 0.25%, from 0.5% to 0.25%, the lowest in Australian history.
In March 2020, the Australian Bureau of Statistics began releasing a number of additional statistical products to assess the economic impacts on the outbreak on the Australian economy. Data on retail trade turnover indicated a 0.4% rise in turnover in February 2020. Negative effects on some areas of the retail sector were offset by a rise in food retail turnover, with supermarkets showing a large rise in sales, mainly arising from panic buying.
On 22 March, the government announced a second stimulus package of A$66bn, increasing the amount of total financial package offered to A$89bn. This included several new measures like an extra 'Coronavirus Supplement' payment to those on income support, paid from 27 April to 24 September 2020, and relaxed eligibility criteria for individuals on JobSeeker's allowance, granting A$100,000 to small and medium-sized businesses and A$715 million to Australian airports and airlines. It also allowed individuals affected by the outbreak to access up to A$10,000 of their superannuation during 2019–2020 and also being able to take an additional same amount for the next year.
On 30 March, the Australian Government announced a six-month, $130 billion JobKeeper payment. The JobKeeper payment provides businesses with up to $1500 a fortnight per full-time or part-time employee, or casual employee that has worked for that business for over a year. To be eligible, a business with an annual revenue of under 1 billion must have lost 30% turnover since 1 March, or 50% for businesses over 1 billion. The entire payment made to businesses for an employee must then, by law, be paid to that employee in lieu of normal pay. This response came after the enormous job losses seen just a week prior when an estimated 1 million Australians lost their jobs. The program was backdated to 1 March with the aim of re-employing many people who had lost their jobs in the weeks before. In the first hour of the scheme, over 8,000 businesses registered to receive the payments. The program is one of the largest economic packages ever implemented in modern Australian history.
On 22 May 2020, the Treasury and Australian Taxation Office announced there had been a miscalculation of 60 billion in the planned cost of the JobKeeper program. Blaming 1,000 businesses for making "significant errors" on the application form, the Australian Government revealed it had overbudgeted the program, and that it was forecast to cost 70 billion, not 130 billion. The Treasury also announced that its original forecast of 6.5 million recipients was inaccurate, and closer to 3.5 million. Prime Minister Scott Morrison celebrated the saving, while the Opposition announced a parliamentary inquiry in an attempt to compel Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to explain the overestimation.
In July 2020, Australian Finance Minister Mathias Cormann in his interview with the CNBC vowed that government’s budget deficit is expected to increase to 85.8 billion Australian dollars in the Financial year that ended on June 30 and further widen to $184.5 billion in the new fiscal year.
ArtsBefore the crisis, 600,000 Australians were employed in the arts, an industry which added around billion to export revenues. The rate of employment in the sector grew at a faster rate than the rest of the economy. According to government figures, "cultural and creative activity contributed to billion to Australia's economy in 2016–17".
Beginning in the second week of March 2020, Australian institutions began announcing reduced services, and then complete closures. One of the first casualties was the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, with organisers announcing on 13 March 2020 that the 2020 festival had been cancelled entirely. Opera Australia announced it would close on 15 March. The national closure of all cultural institutions was mandated on 24 March, with subsequent restrictions on public gatherings. Consequently, many cultural events were also cancelled, including the Sydney Writers' Festival. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, by the beginning of April, "Arts and Recreation services" was the sector of the national economy with the smallest proportion of its business still in operation – at 47%. A graph in Guardian Australia showing businesses by sector that had ceased trading between June 2019 and 30 March 2020 shows over 50% of arts and recreation services, the hardest hit of any sector. Adrian Collette, CEO of the Australia Council for the Arts, the government's arts funding and advisory body, described the impact on the cultural and creative sectors as “catastrophic”.
The Australian film industry has been severely impacted, with at least 60 shoots being halted and about 20,000 people out of work. On Monday 23 March, all productions funded by Screen Australia were postponed., after some improvement in COVID-19 statistics in Australia, Screen Australia continues to fund work and process applications, intending to use all of its 2019/20 budget. Film industry organisations such as Screen Producers Australia and the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance have been lobbying the government for a support package specific to the screen industry, and to expand the JobKeeper requirements so that those in the screen industry are better covered. Many in the film industry are employed by Special Purpose Vehicles — temporary companies that cease trading once production has finished – which cannot easily prove that their turnover has fallen by 30% or more. SPA said that the industry shutdown had cost more than million, with about million of lost export revenue.
One hundred and nineteen films and TV shows have been halted, with only a few shows continuing production through the pandemic. The TV soap Neighbours was the first English-language TV drama series in the world to announce that resumption of production would begin soon after 20 April 2020.
Like other governments around the world, the Australian government has acknowledged the economic, cultural and social value of the arts industry. The Australia Council has redirected about million to "new programs designed to provide immediate relief to Australian artists, arts workers and arts organisations to support their livelihoods, practice and operations during the COVID-19 pandemic", and is also hosting weekly meetings to address the concerns of specific sections of the industry, such as Indigenous creatives and organisations, live performance and public gatherings, and various peak bodies. Several state governments have also provided relief packages.
In early April, the federal government announced a package of million in specific arts funding: million for the Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support program, million for Regional Arts Australia's regional arts fund, and million for Support Act, a charity providing financial support and counselling to people in the music industry in Australia. However, the "JobKeeper" scheme specifically excluded "freelancers and casuals on short-term contracts, or who have worked for a series of employers in the last year", thus excluding a large proportion of arts and cultural sector professionals, who rely on short-term contracts.
However, most of the arts sector's more than 193,000 workers were still unable to access the JobKeeper payments, despite being defined as sole traders, and an estimated million worth of paid performances cancelled. The Australia Institute recommended a -million rescue package for the industry, while Arts Minister Paul Fletcher said that arts workers should utilise existing support measures.
On 4 May 2020, the company operating the Carriageworks multi-arts venue in Sydney declared it would be entering voluntary administration and closing, citing an “irreparable loss of income” due to government bans on events during the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent negative impact on the arts sector. Carriageworks was the first major arts venue in the country to collapse suddenly after the hit to income caused by the strict social distancing rules enforced by state and federal governments, but others feared the same fate, after being forced to shut their doors in late March.
On 13 May 2020, the Art Gallery of South Australia announced that it would reopen on 8 June.
On 24 June 2020, the federal government announced a $250 million rescue package for the arts, comprising grants and loans. The package includes $75m for a grants program for new festivals, concerts, tours and events; $90m in loans to help fund new productions; $50m to help film and television producers unable to access insurance due to the pandemic, to enable them to restart production; and $35 million in direct financial assistance for struggling Commonwealth-funded organisations, including theatre, dance, music and circus. The Australian Recording Industry Association welcomed the boost, but critics said that it was not nearly enough, especially with so many workers in the industry still ineligible for JobKeeper payments.
Indigenous Australiansand Torres Strait Islanders have poorer health outcomes and a lower life expectancy than the non-Indigenous Australian population, particularly those living in remote areas, and along with overcrowded housing and many living in very remote communities, makes them one of the communities most vulnerable to the virus. The remote Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara in South Australia, whose population has many comorbidities, high rates of tobacco use, overcrowded housing and overall poor hygiene, introduced restricted access to the lands in early March to protect their people, especially elders, from the virus. The Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, said it was a sensible move, and that the federal government would work with them.
The federal government set up a national Indigenous advisory group in early March, to create an emergency response plan for Aboriginal communities. The 43-page plan was published in March, and in late March, the Prime Minister that advised that Indigenous Australians over the age of 50, should stay at home as much as possible. The Department of Health created a web page dedicated to advice for Indigenous people and remote communities, and the National Indigenous Australians Agency has one dedicated to the government's response to COVID-19. On 18 April the NIAA announced a government package of million of "targeted measures to support Indigenous businesses and communities to increase their responses to COVID-19", for the coming two financial years.
The Northern Territory developed a remote health pandemic plan, with NT Health setting up a number of remote clinics across the Territory. All non-essential travel to the 76 remote communities was banned, and a 14-day isolation period imposed for those residents wanting to return home from regional centres, and in May, health officials suggested that these controls should stay in place for the foreseeable future. In mid-March, a group of senior NT clinicians called for 16 measures to be implemented as soon as possible to help protect vulnerable communities. Other states and territories have provided advice on their health agency websites.
A group of Barkindji families set up a tent town on the banks of the Darling River near Wilcannia in New South Wales, to escape the threat of the disease from overcrowded accommodation in the town.
SportThe major sporting leagues initially stated that their seasons would not be suspended but would continue behind closed doors. The leagues would all later be suspended.
The 2020 Stawell Gift has been postponed until later in the year.
;Australian rules football
The AFL season was initially curtailed to a maximum of 17 games, with clubs expected to take at least a 10% revenue hit from coronavirus related issues. However, on 22 March, just before the end of round 1 of the 2020 season, AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan announced that the AFL season would be suspended until at least 31 May, citing the shutting of state borders as the primary cause for this decision. The 2020 AFL Women's season was cancelled midway through the finals series, with no premiership awarded to any team.
The 2020 NBL Finals followed suit beginning with game two, although it was stated that they would be immediately suspended if any participants were to be diagnosed. The best of five series was subsequently cancelled after the third game was played with the title awarded to Perth Wildcats.
The remaining two One Day Internationals between Australia and New Zealand were cancelled after the first match was played behind closed doors. Cricket Australia also cancelled the Australian women's cricket team's tour of South Africa due to the virus.
The first sporting event in Australia to be affected was the 2020 Australian Grand Prix, which was cancelled on 13 March after McLaren withdrew when a team member tested positive for COVID-19. This was also enforced on the support races which included the 2020 Melbourne 400, which was the second round of the 2020 Supercars Championship to be cancelled.
Following the implementation of travel restrictions by New Zealand, the Australian Rugby League Commission announced that the New Zealand Warriors would be based in Australia for the foreseeable future. The 2020 season was suspended indefinitely on 23 March. Chairman of the ARLC Peter V'landys requested a government bailout for the National Rugby League, a request that was struck down, and caused a considerable negative reaction.
On 22 April, the NRL announced that they will plan for the season to restart on 28 May, with training beginning on 4 May, and has planned for 18 rounds and a State of Origin series, with the Grand Final rescheduled for 25 October.
The NRL season recommenced on May 28 with a round 3 game played in Brisbane between the Brisbane Broncos and Parramatta Eels. The match was played behind closed doors without any crowd, although the broadcasters used fake crowd noise during the broadcast. The return match rated highly on TV as it was the first TV match of a team sport in Australia for 8 weeks.
The 2020 Super Rugby season was suspended following the conclusion of play on 15 March, due to the outbreak and the imposition of mandatory quarantine for international travellers to New Zealand.
The A-League initially announced a continuation of the league with the Wellington Phoenix being based in Australia; however, on 24 March, suspended the remaining matches.
Demand for investigationOn 19 April, Australia questioned China's handling of the epidemic, questioned the transparency of its disclosures, and demanded an international investigation into the origins of the virus and its spread. The Chinese Ambassador Cheng Jingye, in a rare breach of diplomatic protocol, leaked details of his telephone conversation with Frances Adamson, Secretary of Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, on the embassy website. He warned that the demand for an inquiry could result in a consumer boycott of students and tourists visiting Australia, and could affect sales of major exports. A trade dispute involving improperly labelled beef and barley dumping ensued, which seriously affected Australian exports.
- The World Surf League cancelled all events in March 2020.
- All Anzac Day marches were cancelled.
- The 15 May school strike for climate rally and march was cancelled.
- The Australian Border Force suspends all deportations to New Zealand between 16 and 30 March 2020.
- NAPLAN tests for 2020 were cancelled on 20 March.
- The national regional touring music festival Groovin' The Moo announced on 17 March that the 2020 festival was cancelled whilst confirming dates for 2021.
New South Wales
- The Sydney Royal Easter Show, the largest ticketed event in Australia, was cancelled only for the third time in its 197-year history.
- Vivid Sydney was cancelled for the first time in its history.
- The Sydney Writers' Festival suspended ticket sales and are expected to cancel their seasons.
- The Festival of Dangerous Ideas was cancelled on 16 March.
- The Byron Bay Bluesfest announced that it would be cancelled due to the introduction of 14-day self-isolation for anyone entering Australia.
- The Hunter Valley Steamfest was cancelled.
- Splendour in the Grass was postponed from July 2020 until 23–25 October 2020.
- The Sydney Film Festival was cancelled on 18 March.
- On 17 March 2020, the Canowindra International Balloon Challenge which was due to be held in April 2020 was cancelled due to concerns about "the spread of coronavirus".
- On 11 March, the head of the Museum of Old and New Art, David Walsh, cancelled the Dark Mofo winter arts festival. He announced on 16 March that the museum itself would be closed indefinitely.
- The government announced that the Legislative Council elections that were due to take place on 30 May 2020 was deferred to 1 August.
- South Australian National Football League men's and women's games will not be held in front of a crowd from 14 March.
- Basketball South Australia decided jointly with the National Basketball league to postpone NBL1 Central games till at least 18 April 2020.
- Rowing South Australia has cancelled the South Australian portion of Head of the River.
- The 2020 Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show was cancelled.
- The 2020 Melbourne International Comedy Festival was cancelled due to banned public gatherings of more than 500 people.
- The 2020 Melbourne International Jazz Festival was cancelled, however replaced by a virtual online event by These Digital Times.
- The 2020 annual Melbourne Food & Wine Festival was postponed to Spring.