Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Find information about the 2019 to 2023 COVID-19 pandemic.

Pandemic background

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on 30 January 2020 and a worldwide pandemic on 11 March 2020.

On 5 May 2023, the WHO Director-General announced that WHO no longer considered COVID-19 to be a PHEIC. However, the COVID-19 pandemic declaration is still active.

We report national case numbers and statistics in our monthly COVID-19 reporting.

Why there was an alert

On 21 January 2020, after a decision by Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly, ‘human coronavirus with pandemic potential’ was added to the Biosecurity (Listed Human Diseases) Determination 2016. This led to us:

  • standing up the National Incident Centre
  • standing up the National Medical Stockpile
  • getting the National Trauma Centre ready and active
  • organising daily meetings of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee
  • coordinating meetings of state, territory and Commonwealth health ministers to discuss pandemic readiness.

On 25 February 2020, the Australian Government activated the Emergency Response Plan for Communicable Disease Incidents of National Significance: National Arrangements.

What we did

We worked closely with our state and territory counterparts to ensure a coordinated response.

Public health messaging regarding COVID-19 focused on:

  • making the public and health professionals aware of the symptoms
  • promoting protective behaviours including hygiene measures, vaccination and oral antiviral treatment eligibility.

National expert groups  developed COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccination guidelines.

Learn more about what we did about COVID-19.

Find out more

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