Government response to the COVID-19 outbreak
Find out how the Australian Government is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, who we are working with to limit the spread of the virus in Australia and what you can do to help.
The Australian Government’s health response to the COVID-19 outbreak aims to:
- minimise the number of people becoming infected or sick with COVID-19
- minimise how sick people become and the mortality rate
- manage the demand on our health systems
- help you to manage your own risk and the risk to your family and community
- support work towards a vaccine
- make a COVID-19 vaccines available to Australians for free.
What we are doing now
The Australian Government has developed and funded a comprehensive response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Government is:
- rolling out the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to priority groups from February
- securing early access for the University of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine, should trials prove it to be successful, safe and effective
- delivering a $17.6 billion economic support package to encourage investment and keep people in jobs
- delivering a $2.4 billion health package to protect all Australians
- providing $669 million to expand Medicare-subsidised telehealth services for all Australians so everyone has access to quality healthcare while at home
- delivering support to Australians experiencing domestic, family and sexual violence due to the fallout of coronavirus
- providing $48.1 million for the National Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan in addition to $74 million to support the mental health and wellbeing of Australians
- funding home delivery of most prescription medicines for those unable to get to their local pharmacy
- ensuring our health professionals are protected with adequate supplies of PPE
- tracing coronavirus cases
- providing information on our response and how you can protect yourself and others in English and other languages
putting limits on some prescription and over the counter medications, to make sure those who need them can access them
publishing a weekly traffic light report of the situation in each state and territory and nationally.
State and territory health authorities are:
- testing people suspected of having the virus
- monitoring close contacts of confirmed cases every day
- imposing travel restrictions between states
- opening fever clinics.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading through international travel, the Government is:
- applying travel restrictions
- screening travellers who arrive in Australia and ensuring they quarantine on arrival
- continuing with border surveillance.
Our response plans
The Government bases its response on several key plans:
- Australian Health Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) National Health Plan
- Management Plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Populations
- Management and Operational Plan for People with Disability
- Pandemic Health Intelligence Plan
- Australian National Disease Surveillance Plan for COVID-19
- Guide to the Establishment of an Aged Care Health Emergency Response Operations Centre
Who manages the response
State and territory governments are mainly responsible for health matters.
When a major health issue like COVID-19 faces our country, they:
- work together with the Australian Government
- share information so they can provide the best possible care
- ensure the response is consistent and integrated across the country.
The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) makes key decisions and coordinates this response.
The AHPPC is made up of:
- the Chief Health Officers from each state and territory
- the Chief Medical Officer
- representatives from key departments.
It meets daily to assess the risk to Australia and recommend public health actions. The AHPPC endorsed the Government’s emergency response plan.
The Australian Government has put together a team of widely respected clinicians, led by the Chief Medical Officer, to assist with the COVID-19 response.
Visit Australia.gov.au to learn more about COVID-19 support from all of government including financial support and advice for businesses and employees, help for education providers, advice on domestic and international travel and other community services.
What you can do
You can help us slow the spread of COVID-19 by:
- learning how to protect yourself and others
- downloading and using the COVIDSafe app
- staying informed via our health alert and information services: Coronavirus Australia app or WhatsApp channel
- staying healthy and making use of the ongoing support available.