Media event date: 
2 March 2020
Date published: 
3 March 2020
Media type: 
Statement
Audience: 
General public

Australia has seen its first community transmission of COVID-19. Bringing the total of confirmed cases to 33.

This case underlines the fact that Australia is not immune from COVID-19. COVID-19 represents a significant risk to Australia – and we continue to manage that risk based on the best and latest medical advice.

Our approach continues to be both highly precautionary and proactive. Our COVID-19 Plan, which Prime Minister Morrison activated last week, puts Australia ahead of the curve in dealing with this virus – as we have been from day one.

In light of the international situation, more cases of COVID-19 are highly likely to emerge in Australia.

Anyone who has symptoms of a virus should practise social distancing, especially if they have recently travelled overseas.

We will continue upgrade our travel advice and remind people that:

  • if they are returning from mainland China or Iran they should self-isolate for 14 days; and
  • if they are returning from Italy or South Korea, and they work as a healthcare worker or as a residential aged care worker, they should not attend their workplace for 14 days. 

The best defence for COVID-19 remains good hand hygiene, cough and sneeze etiquette, and to isolate when unwell.

The message for Australians is that it is perfectly safe to go about their daily business and do exactly what they would normally do.

It is important to reiterate that the great majority – more than 80 per cent – of people diagnosed with COVID-19 have a mild illness, so mild that the symptoms are often barely noticed.

If you do get symptoms, such as fever and cough, and are a returned traveller or potential contact with someone who may have COVID-19, please isolate yourself and seek medical advice. This is how we can best reduce the spread.

Ministers: