About Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Learn about the COVID-19 disease, symptoms and effects.

COVID-19 is the disease caused by the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Australia was announced on 25 January 2020.

The World Health Organization (WHO) was responsible for tracking variants of concern and interest during the international pandemic. 

Learn more about the variants that were of national concern in Australia from 2020 to 2023.


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.

Learn more about the pandemic and how it was managed in Australia.


COVID-19 is a disease caused by the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The symptoms of COVID-19 can range from mild to severe.

Some people recover easily while others get very sick. If you test positive for COVID-19 you can experience:

  • fever
  • coughing
  • sore throat
  • shortness of breath.

For more information, see our fact sheet on identifying the symptoms of COVID-19.

Some people do not experience any symptoms (are asymptomatic) but can still pass on the virus.

Long term effects

Most people who test positive for COVID-19 recover completely, but some people may develop Long COVID.

The symptoms of Long COVID differ from that of COVID-19. You can experience:

  • extreme fatigue (tiredness)
  • shortness of breath, heart palpitations, chest pain or tightness
  • problems with memory and concentration
  • changes to taste and smell
  • joint and muscle pain.

Sometimes these symptoms can last weeks or months.

Learn more about Long COVID.

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