On 20 October 2023, the Australian Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly announced that the COVID-19 pandemic was no longer a Communicable Disease Incident of National Significance (CDINS).
While COVID-19 was considered a CDINS we worked with the health and aged care sectors to ensure there were enough tests and treatments for all Australians who needed them.
Providing access to COVID-19 oral antiviral treatments
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) provisionally approved some treatments for use in Australia by high-risk communities.
We worked with peak bodies to ensure these medications were:
- listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)
- available to the public from pharmacies, with a prescription
- available in Prescriber Bags for emergency use
- preplaced in residential aged care homes.
Read more about oral antiviral treatments.
Providing COVID-19 tests to those at risk
Rapid Antigen Tests are an important, easy to access test for detecting COVID-19. During the pandemic we ensured these tests were delivered to those that needed them the most, including:
- residential aged care homes, for screening residents, staff and visitors
- Aboriginal and Community Controlled Health services
- people in supported independent living services (support that enables people to live in their own home).
We worked to ensure that everyone in Australia had access to free vaccines. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines.
We worked with state and territory governments and health providers to capture data and streamline COVID-19 reporting into a single resource.
See the COVID-19 case numbers, vaccination rates and statistics for Australia.
Working together with states and territories
We worked with state and territory governments to:
- share information so they could provide the best possible care
- ensure the whole of government response was consistent and united across the country.
Our whole of government response aimed to:
- minimise the number of people became infected or sick with COVID-19
- minimise how sick people became 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
- make COVID-19 vaccines available to everyone in Australia.
Working with our experts
The Australian Government put together a team of widely respected clinicians to assist with the COVID-19 response. Our expert committees were the:
- Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC)
- Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI)
- Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA)
- Infection Control Expert Group (ICEG)
- Public Health Laboratory Network (PHLN)
- The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC)
- The COVID-19 Vaccines and Treatments for Australia – Science and Industry Technical Advisory Group (SITAG)
Our policies and procedures
We implemented a range of funding measures and plans to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. We created plans specific to sectors, such as aged care, to ensure they catered to all Australians.
Learn about the frameworks and policies the Australian Government put in place to help combat COVID-19.
Learn about the:
- National COVID-19 Community Protection Framework
- Emergency Response Plan for COVID-19
- National Health Plan
- National COVID-19 Health Management Plan for 2023.
Providing mental health, financial and healthcare support
The COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on the health and wellbeing of Australians in many ways.
Mental health support
The Australian Government’s Head to health initiative provides:
- easy to access mental health advice
- free or low-cost phone and online counselling
- treatment and crisis support.
You can find mental health service providers on the health Service Finder.
If you need help right now, it is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, anywhere in Australia:
- Beyond Blue Support Service
- Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National)
- Kids Helpline
- Suicide Call Back Service
In an emergency, call 000.
The Disability Worker COVID-19 Leave Grant replaces the High Risk Setting Pandemic Payment. It provides National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) providers grant funding to support eligible workers who:
- deliver close personal support to NDIS participants
- contract COVID-19
- have no or insufficient sick leave.
The funding provides support towards the costs associated with hours of work lost between 1 April 2023 and 31 December 2023.
Your state or territory government may have other support available:
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
- Northern Territory
- South Australia
- Western Australia.
We work closely with the healthcare providers, including the aged care and disability care sector, as well as state and territory governments to ensure supply of:
For more information see:
- COVID-19 support for providers and workers
- COVID-19 resources for aged care workers
- Weekly outbreak reporting for residential aged care facilities
- COVID-19 resources for disability care workers and services
- COVID-19 vaccine information for disability workers and service providers.