COVID-19 in Australia: What did we learn?

COVID-19 highlights the risks associated with globalization and the associated health and security threats. The interoperability of individuals moving locally, locally, domestically and internationally underpins various types of containment and mitigation measures to prevent and control the spread of infection.1

In Australia, the first wave of COVID-19 infection was associated with cases imported from abroad. On January 25, 2020, Australia reported the first confirmed case of COVID-19 imported from Wuhan, China, where a pandemic occurred.2-4 In the next two months, the majority of cases in Australia came from international travelers and passengers returning from China, Iran, the United States and Europe. Ruby Princess Cruise ship.Five In response, the Australian Health Care Sector Emergency Response Plan was launched by the Australian Government on February 24, outlining four key strategic goals aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the community. (Figure 1).6

Figure 1: Australia’s Health Care Sector Emergency Response Plan: Four Key Strategic Goals.

The first purpose is to characterize the nature of the virus and the clinical severity of the disease in the Australian situation. The clinical symptoms of COVID-19 were quickly confirmed to include fever, sore throat, cough, and dyspnea.7 The main mode of infection through direct contact with an infected person and indirect contact with a contaminated surface with infectious droplets. The incubation period has been reported to be 1-14 days, with increased mortality and morbidity associated with the elderly and immunocompromised individuals. Asymptomatic carriage of COVID-19 has been identified, which may impede case identification, contact tracing, and practical implementation of infection prevention and control (IPC) measures in the community. ..7

The second objective is to reduce the transmission, morbidity and mortality of the disease. Regarding imports of cases, the Australian Government has gradually imposed border restrictions since February 1. What started as a travel ban from mainland China rapidly evolved into immigration restrictions for all foreigners and a total ban on overseas travel for residents as of March 24.8 For travelers arriving in Australia by air or sea, case quarantine and quarantine began in early February at a designated hospital and was subsequently changed to home and hotel quarantine due to increased cases in March. .. In the event of symptoms, close contact with household members was required to quarantine and be tested at home.8 After March 28, all international travelers will be required to enter a mandatory government-approved hotel quarantine for 14 days to further prevent the risk of COVID-19 import proliferation.

To reduce interstate communication, border closures began in late March in all states and territories, with each jurisdiction implementing its own set of immigration requirements.9 Physical distance measurements were taken nationwide to reduce mortality. Vulnerable groups were encouraged to stay home except in emergencies and seek help from family members and caregivers for food delivery and other important services.Ten

Public health orders throughout Australia’s jurisdiction have severely restricted the movement of individuals, and travel has been mimicked for essential purposes only. Employers across Australia have instructed employees to work from home to limit the spread of COVID-19.11,12 When it comes to education, Australian states and territories have kept their schools open during the pandemic. Distance learning was conducted, but attendance was recommended to be limited to children of essential workers and children without other care options.13

It was recommended to keep a physical distance of 1.5 meters for all activities involving groups of individuals.The company had to comply with one new person every 4 meters2 Policies within their facility.14 Rally and movement restrictions were different by state and jurisdiction,8 At the end of March, various entertainment and sporting events were canceled and gyms and clubs were closed. At this time, police fined people who did not stick to physical distance measurements.Five

The scale of the pandemic poses unprecedented challenges to the healthcare system, forcing the Australian Government to find ways to support it. This is purpose 3 of the emergency response plan.

Mobile and drive-through test facilities have been introduced at hotspots to reduce the burden and support healthcare systems. Before the pandemic, telemedicine was growing at a slow pace, but its acceleration has become a priority for reducing the risk of community infections and protecting patients and healthcare providers. ..15

The following actions are being implemented rapidly: We expanded the capacity of the intensive care unit (ICU) to curb the surge in the number of COVID-19 cases. Increased nationwide PPE supply. Cancellation of elective surgery and other services to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection to both staff and patients. A larger partnership between the public and private health systems.Five

Objective 4 focuses on the community and COVID-19. The Australian Government has developed two apps for the general public: the Corona Virus app, which provides the latest pandemic updates and advice from official sources, and the COVIDsafe app, which uses Bluetooth to track cases and close contacts. ..15 In addition, official public service announcements are served daily across social media platforms and news media.16

Free access and increased COVID-19 testing throughout the jurisdiction maximizes the public’s opportunity to take responsibility for their health and safety.Ten Australia’s success in mitigating the first wave may be due to forced social distance, effective border closure, high test rates, and the achievement of the country’s four goals in response planning (Figure 2). ..Five

Figure 2. COVIDSafe Australia’s 3-step framework. Click here for a clearer image.
© 2020 Representative of the Australian Federal Ministry of Health

With reliable identification of new cases and effective contact tracing, restrictions were relaxed in June 2020 and businesses such as gyms and bars were reopened under the implemented COVID-19 safety plan. However, in Victoria, a widespread outbreak of COVID-19 cases of community-acquired infections occurred in August due to inadequate violations of public health orders (for example, violations of hotel forced quarantine protocols).

These events are in contrast to the first wave of community-acquired pneumonia, which accounted for only 10% of the 6695 cases.17 The Victoria State Government has implemented a rigorous contact tracing protocol in open venues to actively monitor the increase in confirmed cases. On August 2, Victoria enforced a curfew from 8 pm to 5 am to blockade Stage 4 by limiting reasons for leaving home to eat, exercise, work, and care. have started. In addition, strict border closures are in place throughout Australia.18

History is devastating, but it shows us that what the world is experiencing now is not uncommon. The 1918 Spanish flu IPC recommendations for the community are similar to current public health recommendations (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Recommendations for the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. Douglas Island News (Friday, November 15, 1918, Douglas, Alaska). Credit:

COVID-19 is not the last emerging infectious disease affecting the world’s population. In the absence of effective treatments and vaccines, the implementation of a comprehensive package of containment and mitigation strategies has made it possible to control the spread of COVID-19. Continued compliance with the IPC protocol, the provision of accessible and affordable tests, and the implementation of rigorous physical distance and contact tracking measures all helped curb the spread of COVID-19. The success of these measures depends heavily on public compliance and community involvement. Learning from these collective experiences will help the public health sector improve their response and planning for infection prevention and disease management in future pandemics.

* Kaitlyn Radford is a research affiliate of the Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery and the Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity at the University of Sydney. ** Dr. Cristina Sotomayor-Dr. Castillo is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Sydney, Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery and the Maribasil Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity Institute. *** Jeremy Malik is a research affiliate of the University of Sydney’s Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery and the Marie Basil Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity. **** Professor Ramon Shaban is the clinical chairman of the Marie Basir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity at the University of Sydney and Susan Wakil’s School of Nursing and Midwifery and the Department of Infectious Diseases and Sexual Health for Infectious Disease Prevention and Disease Control I’m a professor. At Westmead Hospital and Western Sydney Local Health District. He is also the head of the COVID-19 Management Committee at the University of Sydney’s School of Medicine and Health.




  3. Shaban RZ LC, O’Sullivan M, et al. Australia’s COVID-19: Our National Response to the First Case of SARS-CoV-2 Infection in the Early Stages of Biocontainment (August 28, Approved by Internal Medicine Journal) ).
  4. Shaban RZ NS, Sotomayor-Castillo C, et al. SARS-CoV-2 Infection and COVID-19: Living Experience and Recognition of Patients in Isolation and Care in Australian Medical Practices (August 29, American Journal of Infection Control) Approval).


  9. Australian government. Ministry of Public Health.Coronavirus (COVID-19) Domestic travel restrictions and access to remote areas [press release].. July 27, 2020.




  14. Coronavirus Covid-19 Public Gathering Limits.

  15. control-covid-19 /.




Image Credit: © / au / Zorro Stock Image

COVID-19 in Australia: What did we learn?

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