What we did about COVID-19

Find out how we responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, and who we worked with to limit the spread of the virus and protect everyone in Australia from 2020 to 2023.

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.

COVID-19 reporting

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:

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:

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:

In an emergency, call 000.

Financial support

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:

Healthcare support

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: 

  • workers
  • tests
  • treatments
  • vaccines.

For more information see:


Date last updated:

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