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COVID-19 pandemic in Australia

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COVID-19 pandemic in Australia
COVID-19 outbreak Australia per capita cases map.svg
Confirmed cases per 100,000 residents by state or territory
COVID-19 Outbreak Cases in Australia (Density).svg
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 by state or territory
  500+ confirmed cases
  50–499 confirmed cases
  5–49 confirmed cases
  1–4 confirmed cases
DiseaseCOVID-19
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
LocationAustralia
First caseMelbourne, Victoria
Arrival date25 January 2020
(1 year, 1 month and 4 days)
OriginWuhan, Hubei, China
Confirmed cases7,290[1]
Active cases405[1]
Recovered6,783[1]
Deaths
102[1]
Official website
www.health.gov.au/covid-19

The COVID-19 pandemic in Australia is part of the ongoing worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The first confirmed case in Australia was identified on 25 January 2020, in Victoria, when a man who had returned from Wuhan, China, tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.[2]

Australian borders were closed to all non-residents on 20 March.[3] Social distancing rules were imposed on 21 March and state governments started to close "non-essential" services.[4][5] "Non-essential services" included social gathering venues such as pubs and clubs but unlike many other countries did not include most business operations such as construction, manufacturing and many retail categories.[6]

The number of new cases initially grew sharply, then levelled out at about 350 per day around 22 March, and started falling at the beginning of April to under 20 cases per day by the end of the month.[7] As of 12 June 2020, 3 pm, 7,290 cases and 102 deaths had been reported in Australia, with the highest number of cases being in New South Wales, with 3,116.

Background[edit source | edit]

A novel coronavirus that caused a respiratory illness was identified in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, in December 2019, and was reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) on 31 December 2019, which confirmed its concern on 12 January 2020.[8][9] WHO declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January, and a pandemic on 11 March.

The case fatality rate of COVID-19 is much lower than that of SARS, a related disease which emerged in 2002,[10][11] but its transmission has been significantly greater, leading to a much greater total death toll.[12][10]

Timeline[edit source | edit]

Template:COVID-19 pandemic data/Australia medical cases chart

January 2020[edit source | edit]

On 23 January, biosecurity officials began screening arrivals on flights from Wuhan to Sydney. Passengers were given an information sheet and asked to present themselves if they had a fever or suspect they might have the disease.[13]

On 25 January, the first case of a SARS-CoV-2 infection was reported, that of a Chinese citizen who arrived from Guangzhou on 19 January. The patient was tested and received treatment in Melbourne.[2][14] On the same day, three other patients tested positive in Sydney after returning from Wuhan.[15][16][17]

Nine cases were recorded in January. From 31 January, foreign nationals returning from China were required to have spent a fortnight in a third country before being allowed into Australia.[18]

February 2020[edit source | edit]

By 6 February, three returning members from a tour group in Wuhan were identified in Queensland.[19]

Twenty-four Australians were infected on the Diamond Princess cruise ship with eight being sent to Darwin for two weeks of quarantine.[20] The number repatriated from the ship are included in the state totals as follows: Qld (3), SA (1), Vic (4), WA (2, one of whom died on 1 March).[21]

On 27 February, the prime minister activated the Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19),[22] stating that the rapid spread of the virus outside of China had prompted the government to elevate its response.[23]

On 29 February, after a Queensland case of an infected person returning to Australia from Iran, the government extended the enforced quarantine to people who had been in Iran, requiring them to spend a fortnight in a third country before being allowed into Australia.[24] There were 14 new cases in February, bringing the number of cases to 23.

March 2020[edit source | edit]

The coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak resulted in panic buying (particularly of toilet paper), leading to empty shelves as seen here on 4 March 2020 in the Adelaide suburb of Paralowie.

Week 1[edit source | edit]

On 1 March, Australia reported the first death from COVID-19: a 78-year-old Perth man, who was one of the passengers from the Diamond Princess, and who had been evacuated and was being treated in Western Australia.[25]

On 2 March, four new cases were reported, two of which were the first cases of community transmission of the virus.[26] These two cases were acquired in Australia whereas all other previous cases were imported from another country. The two cases were in New South Wales: one was acquired from a close relative and the other was a health care worker in Western Sydney.[27] Another confirmed case on this day was a 40-year-old man from Launceston who came back on 29 February from a flight which left Melbourne and landed in Launceston on the same day. He was treated at the Launceston General Hospital as he became the first Coronavirus case in Tasmania.[28]

On 4 March, a second death was reported, a 95-year-old woman dying at a Sydney aged-care facility.[29]

On 7 March, Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos confirmed during a press conference that a doctor in Victoria had tested positive for COVID-19. The doctor in his 70s had returned to Australia from the United States on 29 February. From 2 to 6 March, the doctor had consulted approximately 70 patients at The Toorak Clinic in Melbourne and two patients at an aged-care facility. The clinic was closed over the weekend and patients were contacted to self-isolate. Health officials sought to notify passengers on the doctor's flights. The doctor believed he only had a mild cold and was fit to return to work,[30] hitting back at the minister for her comments.[31][32]

Week 2[edit source | edit]

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson made international headlines in March 2020 after being hospitalised with the virus in Queensland. (Photo taken after the 2008 Emmys in California.)

On 8 March, an 82-year-old man died becoming the second death at the Dorothy Henderson Lodge aged-care facility and the third death in the country.[33]

On 9 March, the principal of Carey Baptist Grammar confirmed that one of the teachers at their Kew campus was infected with the virus. This teacher, a woman in her 50s, was confirmed to be the partner of an individual who was on the same flight from the US that the GP of Toorak Clinic was on.[34][35]

On 11 March, the head of the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), David Walsh, cancelled the Dark Mofo winter arts festival. In a statement, David Walsh stated "I know that [the cancellation] will murder an already massacred tourism environment, but I feel like I have no choice."[36]

On 12 March, the ACT announced its first case, the 142nd case in Australia. A man in his 30s had not travelled overseas but did travel outside of the ACT.[37] Actor Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson advised that they had tested positive and were in isolation.[38][39]

Later that day, an initial $17.6 billion stimulus package was unveiled by the Prime Minister to "protect Australians' health, secure jobs and set the economy to bounce back" from the crisis.[40] West Australian health minister Roger Cook has informed the public that the Western Australian Department of health is postponing upgrades at Peel Health Campus to accommodate patients with the virus. There were concerns that the upgrade would temporarily halve the ED waiting room capacity, preventing isolation of ED patients from patients with the virus. The upgrade has been postponed to 1 October 2020.[41]

Victoria confirmed nine new cases, one of which was the first case of human-to-human transmission in the state. A McLaren Formula One team member tested positive for the virus.[42] This brought the Victorian total to 36 and the national total to 175. Peter Dutton the Home Affairs Minister for Australia was diagnosed in Queensland.[43] The Victorian government declared they are suspending all jury trials to limit the spread of the virus.[44]

Week 3[edit source | edit]

Shortage of non-perishable foods at a Melbourne supermarket.

On 10 March, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews warned Victorians to expect "extreme measures" in the wake of the federal government updating the travel advice for Italy.[45] These could include cancelling major sporting events, requiring entire economic sectors to work from home, and calling recently retired health professionals to return to work.[46]

On 16 March, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews declared a state of emergency until 13 April.[47] The State of Emergency was subsequently extended (see below).

The University of Queensland stopped all teaching for the week after three students tested positive for the virus.[48] Western Australia introduced similar measures as New South Wales, preventing schools from organising gatherings of over 500.[49] Susan McDonald, a Queensland senator, confirmed being infected with the virus.[50] New South Wales Liberal senator, Andrew Bragg, was the third Australian politician to test positive. On 18 March,[51] a human biosecurity emergency was declared[52] by the Governor-General, David Hurley, under Section 475 of the Biosecurity Act 2015.[51]

The cruise ship Ovation of the Seas docked in Sydney on 18 March and discharged about 3,500 passengers. 79 passengers had tested positively for the virus by 1 April.[53] Voyager of the Seas also docked on 18 March. On 2 April 34 passengers and 5 crew members had tested positively for the virus in New South Wales alone.[54] Celebrity Solstice docked on 19 March. On 2 April 11 cases had tested positively for the virus in New South Wales alone.[54]

The cruise ship Ruby Princess discharged 2,700 passengers in Sydney on 19 March. It was announced on 20 March that three of 13 passengers tested positive for the coronavirus. New South Wales health authorities asked all passengers to go into self-isolation.[55]

Also on 19 March, Qantas confirmed it would suspend about 60% of domestic flights,[56] put two thirds of its employees on leave, suspend all international flights and ground more than 150 of its aircraft from the end of March until at least 31 May 2020 following expanded government travel restrictions in response to COVID-19.[57][58]

On 22 March, the government announced a second stimulus package of A$66bn, increasing the amount of total financial package offered to A$89bn. This included several new measures; most notably a doubling of income support and relaxed eligibility criteria for individuals on Jobseeker's allowance and grants of up to A$100,000 for small and medium-sized businesses.[59]

Week 4[edit source | edit]

On 24 March one passenger from Ruby Princess had died and 133 on the ship had tested positive.[60] On 28 March 284 passengers had tested positive.[61]

On 25 March the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission (NCCC) was established by the Prime Minister, as a strategic advisory body for the national response to the pandemic.[62][63] The NCCC's role includes providing advice on public-private partnerships and coordination to mitigate the social and economic impacts of the pandemic.[64][65]

Week 5[edit source | edit]

There was a reduction of new infections in the end of March, from around 360 per day for the period of 23 to 27 March, then down to 190 in 28 March and 100 on 29 March. However, there was an expected and sudden increase in deaths near the end of March as Australia moved along the epidemiology curve.[7]

The cruise ship Artania docked at Fremantle on 27 March. Most of the 850 passengers flew home from Perth to Germany on 28–29 March. 41 passengers and crew tested positive to COVID-19 and were being treated in Perth hospitals.[66][67] When the cruise departed on the 18 April, 79 of Western Australia's 541 cases were passengers and crew off the Artania with one death acknowledge as being a crew member who was from the Philippines.[68]

As of 30 March, at least 440 passengers (211 in New South Wales, 71 in South Australia, 70 in Queensland, 43 in Western Australia, 22 in the Australian Capital Territory, 18 in Victoria, three in Tasmania and two in the Northern Territory) from Ruby Princess had tested positive for the virus.[69] As of 31 March 2020, five of them had died, one in the Australian Capital Territory, two in Tasmania, one in New South Wales and one in Queensland.[70]

The same day, the Australian Government announced its largest economic support package in response to the crisis, a $130 billion "JobKeeper" wage subsidy program. This figure was later revised to $70 billion when an error of estimation came to light.[71] The JobKeeper program would pay employers up to $1500 a fortnight per full-time, part-time or casual employee that has worked for that business for over a year, if the business fits criteria involving a loss of turnover as a result of the pandemic.[72]

On the evening of 31 March, six baggage handlers from Adelaide Airport had tested positive. As a result, up to 100 other staff from the airport were required to self-isolate, causing cancellations of flights to and from Adelaide.[73]

April 2020[edit source | edit]

Forrest highway, Perth-Peel region checkpoint for entering the South West region

On 1 April, the Western Australian State Government introduced intrastate travel restriction, limiting movements between the regions of Western Australia.[74]

On 2 April, the number of cases in Victoria exceeded 1,000, including over 100 healthcare workers.[75]

On 5 April, New South Wales Police launched a criminal investigation into whether the operator of Ruby Princess, Carnival Australia, broke the Biosecurity Act 2015 (Cwth) and New South Wales state laws, by deliberately concealing COVID-19 cases.[76]

On 6 April, the Department of Health revealed that 2,432 people recovered from the infection as the federal government started reporting recovery statistics. This is more than a third from the official number reported so far, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly stating, "I think it is important. Firstly it really reinforces that message, which is a true one, that most people who get this disease do recover”. The day before, at 3pm, it was announced that 2,315 of the 5,687 confirmed coronavirus cases had recovered.[77]

Hospital advice in North West Tasmania, advising those with symptoms or concerns to call emergency or seek medical attention in "Launy" (Launceston).

On 11 April, the charity Anglicare was advised of an outbreak at its Newmarch House aged care nursing home in Caddens, New South Wales.[78][79] On 14 April, the outbreak was linked to an infected staff member with minor symptoms, but who attended work for six shifts. Ten residents and five other staff tested positive for coronavirus.[80] On 27 and 28 April, four residents of the home died in less than 24 hours, bringing to eleven the number of residents who had died from COVID-19 since 11 April.[78][79] By 9 May, there have been 69 COVID-19 cases linked to the facility, 32 staff and 37 residents.[citation needed] On 19 May the 19th resident died from coronavirus.[81]

On 13 April, the Tasmanian government closed the North West Regional Hospital and North West Private Hospital for cleaning, and put the entire staff of over 1000 people and their families into quarantine.[82]

On 15 April, a Western Australian man became the first person in Australia to be jailed for breaking a self-isolation directive.[83]

On 30 April 2020, the ACT declared itself to be free of all known cases of COVID-19, the first Australian jurisdiction.[84] However, on 4 May there was a one new case, a young woman who acquired the virus overseas.[85] On 10 May, the ACT was again free of active COVID-19 cases.[86]

May 2020[edit source | edit]

An outbreak in Victoria at a meatworks that was later revealed to be Cedar Meats was announced on 2 May with eight cases.[87] By 8 May, the cluster of cases linked to Cedar Meats in Victoria was 71, consisting of at least 57 workers and 13 close contacts, including a nurse, aged care worker and high school student.[88][89] The number had increased to 75 by 9 May,[90][91] 88 by 13 May,[92] and 90 by 14 May.[93]

Adelaide's Myer Centre food court closed due to the pandemic.

On 9 May, two Victorian cases were announced to be related to McDonald's Fawkner.[94] By 18 May, this had increased to 12 cases, and on that day it was revealed that a delivery driver had tested positive, prompting the closing for cleaning of 12 more McDonald's locations: Melton East, Laverton North, Yallambie, Taylors Lakes, Campbellfield, Sunbury, Hoppers Crossing, Riverdale Village, Sandown, Calder Highway Northbound/Outbound, Calder Highway Southbound/Inbound, and BP Rockbank Service Centre Outbound.[95]

In New South Wales, as of Friday 15 May, some restrictions on public gatherings were eased. Free standing cafes and restaurants, and those inside pubs and clubs, will be allowed very limited sit-down dining, after being restricted to take-away only since March. Bars and gaming areas will remain closed. A maximum of 10 people will be permitted in restaurants and cafes, while social distancing rules must still be followed. Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people will be permitted. Up to 10 guests will be permitted at weddings. Funerals can have up to 20 mourners indoors, 30 outdoors. Up to 10 people will be allowed at indoor religious gatherings such as churches.[96][97]

On 15 May, South Australia became the second jurisdiction, after the ACT, to be free of any active cases[98], however on 26 May, a woman returning from overseas who was granted exemption into South Australia from her hotel quarantine in Victoria tested positive for COVID-19. This was the first new case in 19 days for the state.[99] On 4 June, it was announced that the woman had recovered and the state was free of any active cases once again.[100]

On 17 May, Victoria announced two further business sites had been shut down due to a suspected case at each. Domino's Pizza in Fairfield has been shut for two weeks, and mattress manufacturer The Comfort Group in Deer Park was closed from Friday 15 May to at least Wednesday 20 May.[101]

On 19 May, in New South Wales, another resident of Newmarch House nursing home died from coronavirus. This brought COVID-19 related deaths at the nursing home to nineteen and the national death toll to 100.[81]

On 21 May, the Northern Territory had also announced that there were no more active cases left in the jurisdiction.[102][103]

June 2020[edit source | edit]

On 6 June, both New South Wales and Victoria reported no new cases for the previous 24 hours, with only Queensland and Western Australia reporting one new case each, the lowest national total since February. Western Australia also announced two old cases. However, the new case in Queensland was linked to the Rydges on Swanston cluster in Melbourne when a man who travelled from Melbourne to Brisbane on Virgin flight VA313 on 1 June tested positive.[104]

On 7 June, a man travelling from overseas to the Australian Capital Territory was diagnosed with coronavirus. This was the Territory's first new COVID-19 case in more than a month, with the last reported case being on 4 May.[105]

On 12 June, there were no longer any active cases in Tasmania.[106]

Statistics[edit source | edit]

Cases[edit source | edit]

Template:COVID-19 pandemic data/Australia cases by state/territory

Cumulative cases[edit source | edit]

The numbers of cases in the tables below referred to the number of cases at the end of each day (23:59 AEDT) until 4 April 2020. Since 5 April 2020, the federal government standardised the daily case number release time to 15:00 AEST which is reflected in the data.

This data has been compiled by recording the daily values from the infographic available under "Current Status" on the Australian Government's Department of Health website.[107] Under National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System reporting requirements, cases are reported based on their Australian jurisdiction of residence rather than where they were detected.

Cumulative confirmed cases by state, territory & nationally
Template:COVID-19 pandemic data/Australia medical cases

The following charts represent changes in net number of cases on a daily basis and is based on the number of cases reported in the Federal Government's daily reports.

Template:COVID-19 pandemic in Australia/New Cases by Differences

Active cases[edit source | edit]

As of 12 June 2020, there are 405 active cases of COVID-19 in Australia. A case is considered active if a person who has contracted COVID-19 has yet to be classified as recovered and hasn't died. The chart below tracks active cases since 5 April when the federal government began reporting nationwide recovery data. Active cases in state reporting may vary based on definition of an active case in that state.

Template:COVID-19 pandemic in Australia/Active Cases

Deaths[edit source | edit]

As of 12 June 2020, 102 people linked to COVID-19 have died in Australia.[81] At least 29 deaths across the country had been passengers or crew on cruise ships[108] and at least 27 deaths were residents in aged-care facilities.[109]

Cumulative confirmed deaths by state, territory & nationally
Template:COVID-19 pandemic data/Australia deaths

Clusters[edit source | edit]

COVID-19 clusters are cases that are known to be related by close contacts. A single cluster may have cases across multiple locations.

Cluster Location State Cases in cluster From date As at date Details
North West Regional Hospital (NWRH) and the North West Private Hospital (NWPH) Burnie Tasmania 127 27 March 30 April Probably originating from two patients from the Ruby Princess cruise ship.[110][111][112][113]
Cedar Meats meatworks Brooklyn (City of Brimbank & City of Hobsons Bay) Victoria 111 2 May 22 May [114][115]
Anglicare Newmarch House Penrith New South Wales 71 11 April 19 May 34 staff and 37 residents infected as at 19 May 2020. 19 residents have died.[81][116][117]
Two separate clusters including Lyndoch Hill winery Barossa Valley (Barossa Council & Light Regional Council) South Australia 40 14 March 9 April [118][119]
Stanwell Tops wedding Wollongong New South Wales 9 March 10 April [116]
"Boogie Wonderland" party at the Bucket List and "Kode" party at Club 77 Bondi (Waverley Council) New South Wales 34 15 March 15 April [120][116]
Adelaide Airport baggage handling area Adelaide Airport (City of West Torrens) South Australia 33 17 March 9 April [119]
Rose of Sharon Childcare Blacktown New South Wales 16 March 15 April [116]
Dorothy Henderson Lodge Ryde New South Wales 21 24 February 15 April [116]
Al Kuwait live export ship Perth Western Australia 20 25 May 29 May [121][122]
Church meeting Ryde New South Wales 19 8 March 15 April [116]
The Sails Restaurant Noosa Heads Queensland 17 14 March 26 March [123]
Rydges on Swanston Melbourne Victoria 15[124] 27 May[125] 11 June[124] On 6 June, a man who was a close contact of this cluster was announced as a new case in Queensland, having travelled to Brisbane on 1 June, then to Bundaberg on 2 June.[104][126]
Bondi Hardware Restaurant Bondi (Waverley Council) New South Wales 14 15 March 15 April [127][116]
Keilor Downs family outbreak Keilor Downs (City of Brimbank) Victoria 13 28 May 31 May [128]
McDonald's, Fawkner Fawkner (City of Moreland & City of Hume) Victoria 13 9 May 7 June On 7 June, a new case was announced. There had been no increase since 18 May, 20 days before.[115][95][129]
Opal Aged Care Bankstown Canterbury-Bankstown New South Wales 6 25 March 15 April [116]

Cases by source of infection[edit source | edit]

The following table lists the cases by their source of infection per state/territory. High amounts of cases with unknown sources of infection indicates high risk of community transmission and increased difficulty in tracing and stopping the spread of COVID-19. There have been estimated to be around 1,200 cases that have been associated with cruise ships in Australia.[130][131]

Australian State/Territory Overseas[lower-alpha 1] Contact[lower-alpha 2] Unknown[lower-alpha 3] Invest.[lower-alpha 4] Total Ref.
4,531 2,025 721 13 7,290
Australian Capital Territory 84 17 7 0 108 [132]
New South Wales 1,805 878 432 1 3,116 [133]
Northern Territory 26 2 1 0 29 [134]
Queensland 825 179 59 1 1,064 [135]
South Australia 301 124 15 0 440 [136]
Tasmania 81 141 6 0 228 [137]
Victoria 893 620 179 11 1,703 [138]
Western Australia 516 64 22 0 602 [139]
As of 12 June 2020
Notes
  1. Person was infected whilst they were overseas (includes sea)
  2. Person was infected in Australia through a close contact or a known cluster
  3. Person was infected in Australia, but the source of infection is unknown, indicating community transmission (includes cases that were infected interstate)
  4. Source of infection is still under investigation

Preventative measures[edit source | edit]

Federal Government[edit source | edit]

On 1 February 2020, Australia banned the entry of foreign nationals from mainland China, and ordered its own returning citizens from China to self-quarantine for 14 days.[140] Australia subsequently imposed travel bans on Iran (1 March),[141] South Korea (5 March),[142] and Italy (11 March).[143] A general travel ban, with limited exceptions, on non-citizens and non-residents travelling to Australia and Australians travelling overseas was introduced on 20 March.[144]

National Cabinet[edit source | edit]

On 13 March, the National Cabinet, a form of national crisis cabinet akin to a war cabinet, was created following a meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG). This is the first time such a cabinet has been proclaimed since World War II,[145] and the only time in Australian history that a crisis cabinet has included state and territory leaders.[146] The cabinet consists of the premiers and chief ministers of the Australian states and territories and meets weekly during the crisis.[147] At its first meeting on 13 March, the National Cabinet announced that gatherings of more than 500 people should be cancelled from 15 March. Schools, universities, workplaces, public transport and airports were not included in this recommendation.[146] Prime Minister Morrison also announced that he intended to attend a Rugby League match on 14 March; "I do still plan to go to the football on Saturday"[148][149] but later decided against attending the match.

On 15 March, Morrison announced that from midnight, all travellers arriving in or returning to Australia must self-isolate for 14 days,[150] mirroring a similar requirement imposed by New Zealand. Failure to comply could result in a fine of Template:AUD to Template:AUD and a possible prison sentence, depending on the state.[151] Cruise ships were also barred from docking in the country for 30 days.[152][153]

On 29 March, the Cabinet agreed to stricter limits to apply from midnight on the 30th: a limit on both indoor and outdoor gatherings of two people except weddings (5) funerals (10) and people of the same household or family; strong guidance to all Australians is to stay home unless for necessary shopping, health care, exercise, and work and study that can't be done remotely; public playgrounds, skate parks and outside gyms to be closed. It was left to individual states to enforce these guidelines. They also agreed to a moratorium on evictions for six months for both commercial and residential tenancies suffering financial distress.[154]

Human biosecurity emergency[edit source | edit]

On 18 March 2020,[51] a human biosecurity emergency was declared in Australia owing to the risks to human health posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, after a National Security Committee meeting the previous day. The Biosecurity Act 2015 specifies that the Governor-General may declare such an emergency exists if the Health Minister (currently Greg Hunt) is satisfied that "a listed human disease is posing a severe and immediate threat, or is causing harm, to human health on a nationally significant scale". This gives the minister sweeping powers, including imposing restrictions or preventing the movement of people and goods between specified places, and evacuations.[52] The Biosecurity (Human Biosecurity Emergency) (Human Coronavirus with Pandemic Potential) Declaration 2020 was declared by the Governor-General, David Hurley, under Section 475 of the Act.[51] The Biosecurity (Human Biosecurity Emergency) (Human Coronavirus with Pandemic Potential) (Emergency Requirements) Determination 2020, made by the Health Minister on the same day, forbids international cruise ships from entering Australian ports before 15 April 2020.[155]

On 19 March, Morrison announced that Australia would be closing its borders to all non-residents and non-Australian citizens from 9:00 pm on 20 March. The Australian Government had imposed the ban in coordination with New Zealand, which imposed a ban on most non-residents and non-citizens from midnight on 19 March.[3][156]

A social distancing rule of 4 square metres (43 sq ft) per person in any enclosed space was agreed by National Cabinet on 20 March, to be implemented through State and Territory laws.[157][158] On 22 March 2020, the State governments of New South Wales and Victoria imposed a mandatory closure of non-essential services,[5] while the Governments of Western Australia and South Australia imposed border closures.[159]

On 22 March, Morrison announced a closure of places of social gathering, including registered and licensed clubs, licensed premises in hotels and bars, entertainment venues, including but not restricted to cinemas, casinos and nightclubs and places of worship. Cafes and restaurants are to remain open, but limited to takeaway only. Similarly, enclosed spaces for funerals and things of that nature will have to follow the strict four square metre rule. These measures are effective immediately at midday, 23 March.[160][161] He stated that he would like the schools to remain open, but parents could keep children at home if they wished to.[162]

On 25 March 2020, the Health Minister made a second determination under the Biosecurity Act 2015, the Biosecurity (Human Biosecurity Emergency) (Human Coronavirus with Pandemic Potential) (Overseas Travel Ban Emergency Requirements) Determination 2020, which "forbids Australian citizens and permanent residents from leaving Australian territory by air or sea as a passenger".[155]

On 25 April 2020, the Biosecurity (Human Biosecurity Emergency) (Human Coronavirus with Pandemic Potential) (Emergency Requirements—Public Health Contact Information) Determination 2020, made under subsection 477(1) of the Act, was signed into law by the Health Minister.[163] The purpose of the new legislation is "to make contact tracing faster and more effective by encouraging public acceptance and uptake of COVIDSafe", COVIDSafe being the new mobile app created for the purpose. The function of the app is to record contact between any two people who both have the app on their phones when they come within 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) of each other. The encrypted data would remain on the phone for 21 days of not encountering a person logged with confirmed COVID-19.[164]

National COVID-19 Coordination Commission[edit source | edit]

On 25 March, the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission (NCCC) was established by the Prime Minister as a strategic advisory body for the national response to the pandemic.[62][63] The NCCC's role includes providing advice on public-private partnerships and coordination to mitigate the social and economic impacts of the pandemic.[64][65]

On 29 March, Prime Minister Morrison announced in a press conference following a National Cabinet meeting that public gatherings will be limited to two people, while also urging Australians over the age of 70, Australians with chronic illness over the age of 60 and Indigenous Australians over the age of 50 to stay home and self-isolate.[165] Morrison also clarified that there were only four acceptable reasons for Australians to leave their houses: shopping for essentials; for medical or compassionate needs; exercise in compliance with the public gathering restriction of two people; and for work or education purposes.[166]

New South Wales[edit source | edit]

Barricades erected by Randwick City Council to prevent access to a beach at La Perouse, New South Wales

Premier Gladys Berejiklian formed a "war cabinet" to make decisions in relation to the pandemic.[167] Members include herself, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, Minister for Health and Medical Research Brad Hazzard and Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott.[167]

On 15 March, Secretary of the New South Wales Department of Education, Mark Scott ordered that, effective immediately, New South Wales schools introduce social distancing measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus.[168] The order requires schools to cancel all assemblies, excursions, travel, concerts, large inter-school sporting and arts events, and other events that would require students and staff to congregate in large numbers.[169] Schools will continue to stay open. Four schools in the state have been shut for periods during the crisis due to confirmed cases within their school communities.[170]

On 16 March, New South Wales Minister for Health and Medical Research Brad Hazzard announced that he was using his powers under Section 7 of the Public Health Act 2010 to immediately and indefinitely cancel all public events with more than 500 attendees.[171] The order is enforceable by NSW Police and violations of the order carry a prison term of six months, an $11,000 fine, or both.[171]

Chief Justice Bathurst, Chief Justice of New South Wales, and Chief Judge Price of the District Court of New South Wales ordered that effective 16 March 2020, new jury trials would be suspended to limit the spread of coronavirus.[172] The order does not apply to already empanelled jury trials.[173] Corrective Services New South Wales implemented screening mechanisms, early flu vaccination programs and stricter hygiene requirements for staff, visitors and inmates to slow the spread of the virus.[170]

The University of Sydney has cancelled all graduations, conferences, academic events and student organised events.[174] The University of New South Wales announced that it was cancelling all student and academic events until Easter, encourage staff to work from home and, where possible, shift all lectures, tutorials, demonstrations and labs to online learning.[175]

New South Wales schools have been told by the New South Wales Department of Education Secretary Mark Scott, to cancel all assemblies, excursions, travel and some events and conferences including arts and initiative events, as well as whole school sporting events and inter-school sporting events with three or more involved schools.[176]

Even though there was a ban on gatherings of more than 500 people, huge crowds flocked to the popular Bondi Beach and other beaches across Sydney on Friday 20 March. Health Minister Greg Hunt said that such behaviour was "unacceptable" while the New South Wales Labor's Shadow Treasurer, Walt Secord urged the government to completely close off the beach. New South Wales Police Minister David Elliott later stated in a televised interview that lifeguards were instructed to keep a head count of the people at the beach and if the number exceeded 500, the beach will be closed. On 21 March, crowds built up yet again which led Waverley Council to temporarily close Bondi and the other beaches of Bronte and Tamarama.[176]

On 22 March a public health order was issued that declares Lord Howe Island as a public risk area and directs restricted access. As of that date there were no known cases of COVID-19 on Lord Howe Island.[177]

On 30th March, NSW Parliament passed a law "COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement"[178] which limited public gatherings to two people and directed, "that a person must not, without reasonable excuse, leave the person's place of residence." It listed 16 reasonable excuses and took effect from midnight on March 31st.

Victoria[edit source | edit]

On 10 March, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews warned Victorians to expect "extreme measures" in the wake of the federal government updating the travel advice for Italy.[45] These could include cancelling major sporting events, requiring entire economic sectors to work from home, and calling recently retired health professionals to return to work.[46]

On 16 March, a state of emergency was declared to 13 April.[179] It was extended on 12 April to 11 May,[180] with existing directions remaining in place including staying at home, restrictions on particular activities, detention, restrictions on airports and cruise ships, aged care, hospitals and isolation for people diagnosed with COVID-19.[citation needed] It was extended further on 11 May to 31 May.

On 22 March, the school holiday was brought forward from 27 to 24 March.[181]

On 14 April 2020, Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos announced that Victoria will have the widest coronavirus testing in Australia, with anyone having COVID-19 symptoms able to get tested.[182] Those who present fever or chills in the absence of any other alternative diagnosis that explains the issue or acute respiratory infection that is characterised by cough, sore throat or shortness of breath should be tested for coronavirus.[183]

Queensland[edit source | edit]

Queensland Police Checkpoint at Coolangatta on 4 April 2020
Boundary Street Coolangatta. Barricades blocking access from New South Wales
COVID-19 preventative measures stickers on a pedestrian signal pole in Queensland

On 29 January, Queensland was the first to declare a public health emergency.[184] The legislation was strengthened on 6 February by the Public Health (Declared Public Health Emergencies) Amendment Bill 2020.[185]

Key directions made under the Public Health Act 2005 include:

  • 2 April – A person must not leave their principal place of residence except for essential needs including work, food, medical and exercise, outdoor gatherings only up to 2 persons or with members of household, receiving only to 2 visitors at a residence, and no gatherings in non-residences.[186]
  • 9 April – "Non-essential" business, activity or undertaking must not be operated. "Non-esssential" businesses include cinemas, casinos, concerts, indoor sports, gyms, playgrounds, campgrounds, libraries. Restrictions also apply to restaurants (take away or delivery only), churches, hairdressers etc. However most construction, mining, manufacturing and retail businesses continued to operate.[187]

Restricted entry into Queensland was introduced, with only Queensland residents and those considered an ‘exempt person’ being allowed to enter Queensland by air, sea, rail or road from another state or territory.[188] This has been introduced stages: Stage 1 started on 26 March 2020, with stages 2 and 3 involving tightening the restrictions. Stage 4, introduced on 11 April, is currently the most restrictive, every person crossing the border including Queensland residents requires a permit. In addition, a person who has been in a declared COVID-19 hotspot in the previous 14 days must self-quarantine for 14 days.[189]

Closures of areas within Queensland include:

  • All camping areas within Queensland national parks, state forests and recreation areas were closed on 26 March.[citation needed]
  • Closure of high visitation National Parks including Fraser Island as well as all day use areas and visitor centres on 9 April.[190]
  • Closure of Queensland waters to cruise ships on 6 April.[191]
  • Closure of Surfers Paradise, Coolangatta and The Spit beaches on 8 April.[192]

Access to the Torres Strait Islands has been restricted to prevent COVID-19 from reaching the region, which has to date remained free of cases.[193]

Western Australia[edit source | edit]

60 crew from the MV Artania (mostly musicians) were put into quarantine at the Novotel hotel.

On 15 March, Premier Mark McGowan declared a state of emergency in Western Australia, along with a formal public health emergency. Schools were prevented from organising gatherings of over 500, including "...swimming and sports carnivals, interschool carnivals, performances, concerts, exhibitions, fetes and fairs."[49]

On 24 March, the state borders were closed and all interstate arrivals were required to self-isolate for 14 days.[194]

On 1 April regional border restrictions were implemented across Western Australia restricting travel between regions to essential services only. People were given 48 hour warning to return to their home region. At the time the Perth Stadium became the COVID-19 incident response centre for the WA.[74]

On 5 April, all state borders were closed, a strengthening of the previous border rules, all arrivals were quarantined in city hotels for 14 days.[195]

The MS Artania departed Fremantle 18 April following a stand off with State and Federal governments over responsibility for the care of passengers and crew. The vessel is sailing for Indonesia and Philippines before heading back to Europe.[196]

South Australia[edit source | edit]

A "pool closed" sign outside of the Marion Outdoor Swimming Centre in Park Holme, South Australia, April 2020.

On 15 March, a public health emergency was declared in South Australia.[197]

On 22 March, a "major emergency" was declared, giving the police power to enforce self-isolation rules.[198]

On 24 March, state borders were closed. People arriving in the state were required to sign a declaration that they will self-isolate for 14 days and provide an address to the police, with penalties for failure to comply.[198][199]

On 27 March, a direction was made under the Emergency Management Act 2004[200] to prohibit gatherings of more than 10 people, and a limit of one person per 4 square metres.[201]

Tasmania[edit source | edit]

Scotch Oakburn College in Tasmania closed as a preemptive decision in fear of rising SARS-CoV-2 cases. It will be closed from 16 March until at least 30 March.[202]

On 17 March, Tasmania declared a public health emergency.[203]

On 19 March, all "non-essential" travellers to the state, including returning residents, were subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine.[204]

On 12 April 2020, in response to an outbreak in Burnie, business restrictions were put in place for a period of 14 days. It included the closure of most retail businesses except for those providing essential services, or those who can provide online services and home delivery. The North West Regional Hospital (NWRH) and North West Private Hospital (NWPH) were temporarily closed from Monday 13 April 2020, and staff, patients and visitors since 27 March required to self-quarantine for 14 days.[205] The self-quarantine will affect up to 5,000 people. Additional testing was announced, and emergency medical teams from the Australian Defence Force were sent to Burnie to cover for hospital staff.[206]

Australian Capital Territory[edit source | edit]

On 16 March, the ACT government declared a public health emergency.[207] All visits to the Alexander Maconochie prison were cancelled from 23 March, but there was "increased access to telephones" for prisoners to keep in touch with their families.[208]

Northern Territory[edit source | edit]

On 24 March, the Northern Territory (NT) government introduced strict border control, with anyone arriving from abroad or interstate being required to self-isolate for 14 days. The only exemption would be due to health and emergency services, defence and policing, flight crews and freight, and based on "compassionate grounds". NT Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker said that the local police and government are likely to impose these measures until September. Anyone now arriving in NT will have to declare that they would isolate for 14 days and let the authorities know of their location during this period at the point of entry. Failure to comply with the new regulations could result in denying entry or a fine of AU$62,800. Furthermore, all non-essential travel to the NT's 76 remote communities was banned.[209]

From midday on 1 May some internal restrictions in NT were eased.[210]

Jervis Bay Territory[edit source | edit]

Jervis Bay Territory has not had any confirmed cases. The territory's border with New South Wales was closed and residents were not allowed outside except for essential purposes.[211]

Norfolk Island[edit source | edit]

Norfolk Island has not had any confirmed cases. As a precautionary measure the government imposed a 32-day travel ban and declared a state of emergency.[212] Administrator Eric Hutchinson stated that the measures were necessary due to the remote island's extremely limited health capacity.[212]

Indian Ocean Territories[edit source | edit]

On 18 March 2020, Administrator Natasha Griggs declared a state of emergency in the Australian Indian Ocean Territories, comprising Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. She limited passenger arrivals to local residents and essential staff, and imposed a self-isolation period of 14 days on any arrivals.[213]

Impacts[edit source | edit]

Economic[edit source | edit]

For further information, see Economy of Australia
The area of each segment represents the number of businesses per sector of the Australian economy; the figure represents the percentage still operating. By 7 April, the Arts and Recreation sector (shown in red) was the worst hit.[214]
An empty street in the Brisbane city centre, 29 March 2020.

On 3 March, the Reserve Bank of Australia became the first central bank to cut interest rates in response to the outbreak. Official interest rates were cut by 0.25% (25 base points) to a record low of 0.5%.[215]

On 12 March, the Government announced a A$17.6 billion stimulus package, the first since the 2008 Global Financial Crisis (GFC).[216][217] The package consists of multiple parts, a one-off A$750 payment to around 6.5 million welfare recipients as early as 31 March 2020, small business assistance with 700,000 grants up to $25,000 and a 50% wage subsidy for 120,000 apprenticies or trainees for up to 9 months, 1 billion to support economically impacted sectors, regions and communities, and $700 million to increase tax write off and $3.2 billion to support short-term small and medium-sized business investment.[216][218]

On 19 March, the Reserve Bank again cut interest rates by a further 0.25% to 0.25%, the lowest in Australian history.[219]

In March 2020, the Australian Bureau of Statistics began releasing a number of additional statistical products to assess the economic impacts on the outbreak on the Australian economy. Data on retail trade turnover indicated a 0.4% rise in turnover in February 2020. Negative effects on some areas of the retail sector (particularly tourism-dependent businesses) were offset by a rise in food retail turnover, with supermarkets showing a large rise in sales,[220] mainly arising from panic buying.

On 22 March, the government announced a second stimulus package of A$66bn, increasing the amount of total financial package offered to A$89bn. This included several new measures like doubling income support and relaxed eligibility criteria for individuals on Jobseeker's allowance, granting A$100,000 to small and medium-sized businesses and A$715 million to Australian airports and airlines. It also allowed individuals affected by the outbreak to access up to A$10,000 of their superannuation during 2019–2020 and also being able to take an additional same amount for the next year.[59]

On 30 March, the Australian Government announced a $130 billion "JobKeeper" wage subsidy program. The JobKeeper program would pay employers up to $1500 a fortnight per full-time, part-time or casual employee that has worked for that business for over a year. For a business to be eligible, they must have lost 30% of turnover after 1 March of annual revenue up to and including $1 billion. For businesses with a revenue of over $1 billion, turnover must have decreased by 50%. Businesses are then required by law to pay the subsidy to their staff, in lieu of their usual wages.[72] This response came after the enormous job losses seen just a week prior when an estimated 1 million Australians lost their jobs. This massive loss in jobs caused the Australian Government's myGov website to crash and lines of people waiting to enter Centrelink offices to run hundreds of metres long.[221] The program was backdated to 1 March, to aim at re-employing the many people who had just lost their jobs in the weeks before. Businesses would receive the JobKeeper subsidy for 6 months.[72]

The announcement of the JobKeeper wage subsidy program is the largest measure announced by the Australian Government in response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first hour of the scheme, over 8,000 businesses registered to receive the payments. The JobKeeper wage subsidy program is one of the largest economic packages ever implemented in the history of Australia.[72]

Arts[edit source | edit]

Before the crisis, 600,000 Australians were employed in the arts, an industry which added around Template:AUD billion to export revenues. The rate of employment in the sector grew at a faster rate than the rest of the economy.[222] According to government figures, "cultural and creative activity contributed to Template:AUD billion (6.4% of GDP) to Australia's economy in 2016–17".[223]

Beginning in the second week of March 2020, Australian institutions began announcing reduced services, and then complete closures.[224] One of the first casualties was the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, with organisers announcing on 13 March 2020 that the 2020 festival had been cancelled entirely.[225] Opera Australia announced it would close on 15 March.[226] The national closure of all cultural institutions was mandated on 24 March, with subsequent restrictions on public gatherings. Consequently, many cultural events were also cancelled, including the Sydney Writers' Festival.[227] According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, by the beginning of April, "Arts and Recreation services" was the sector of the national economy with the smallest proportion of its business still in operation – at 47%.[228] A graph in Guardian Australia showing businesses by sector that had ceased trading between June 2019 and 30 March 2020 shows over 50% of arts and recreation services, the hardest hit of any sector (information media and telecommunications is next, at about 34%).[229] Adrian Collette, CEO of the Australia Council for the Arts, the government's arts funding and advisory body, described the impact on the cultural and creative sectors as “catastrophic”.[230]

The Australian film industry has been severely impacted, with at least 60 shoots being halted and about 20,000 people out of work.[231] On Monday 23 March, all productions funded by Screen Australia were postponed.[232] As of 15 April 2020, after some improvement in COVID-19 statistics in Australia, Screen Australia continues to fund work and process applications, intending to use all of its 2019/20 budget.[233] Film industry organisations such as Screen Producers Australia (SPA) and the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) have been lobbying the government for a support package specific to the screen industry, and to expand the JobKeeper requirements so that those in the screen industry are better covered. Many in the film industry are employed by Special Purpose Vehicles — temporary companies that cease trading once production has finished – which cannot easily prove that their turnover has fallen by 30% or more.[234] SPA said that the industry shutdown had cost more than Template:AUD million, with about Template:AUD million of lost export revenue.[235]

119 films and TV shows have been halted, with only a few shows (such as MasterChef Australia and Shaun Micallef's Mad as Hell) continuing production through the pandemic. The TV soap Neighbours was the first English-language TV drama series in the world to announce that resumption of production would begin soon after 20 April 2020.[235]

Like other governments around the world, the Australian government has acknowledged the economic, cultural and social value of the arts industry.[222][223] The Australia Council has redirected about Template:AUD million to "new programs designed to provide immediate relief to Australian artists, arts workers and arts organisations to support their livelihoods, practice and operations during the COVID-19 pandemic" (the "Resilience Fund"[236]), and is also hosting weekly meetings to address the concerns of specific sections of the industry, such as Indigenous creatives and organisations, live performance and public gatherings, and various peak bodies.[230] Several state governments have also provided relief packages.[222]

In early April the federal government announced a package of Template:AUD million in specific arts funding: Template:AUD million for the Indigenous Visual Arts Industry Support program, Template:AUD million for Regional Arts Australia's regional arts fund, and Template:AUD million for Support Act, a charity providing financial support and counselling to people in the music industry in Australia.[237] However, the "JobKeeper" scheme specifically excluded "freelancers and casuals on short-term contracts, or who have worked for a series of employers in the last year", thus excluding a large proportion of arts and cultural sector professionals, who rely on short-term contracts.[228][238][239]

However, most of the arts sector's more than 193,000 workers were still unable to access the JobKeeper payments, despite being defined as sole traders, and an estimated Template:AUD million worth of paid performances cancelled. The Australia Institute recommended a Template:AUD-million rescue package for the industry, while Arts Minister Paul Fletcher said that arts workers should utilise existing support measures.[240]

On 4 May 2020, the company operating the Carriageworks multi-arts venue in Sydney declared it would be entering voluntary administration and closing, citing an “irreparable loss of income” due to government bans on events during the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent negative impact on the arts sector.[241][242] Carriageworks was the first major arts venue in the country to collapse suddenly after the hit to income caused by the strict social distancing rules enforced by state and federal governments, but others feared the same fate, after being forced to shut their doors in late March.[243]

On 13 May 2020, the Art Gallery of South Australia announced that it would reopen on 8 June.[244]

Indigenous Australians[edit source | edit]

Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders have poorer health outcomes and a lower life expectancy than the non-Indigenous Australian population, particularly those living in remote areas,[245][246] and along with overcrowded housing and many living in very remote communities, makes them one of the communities most vulnerable to the virus.[247] The remote Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY lands) in South Australia, whose population has many comorbidities, high rates of tobacco use, overcrowded housing and overall poor hygiene, introduced restricted access to the lands in early March to protect their people, especially elders, from the virus.[248] The Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, said it was a sensible move, and that the federal government would work with them.[249] (A later call to evacuate elders to Adelaide by the APY Art Centre Collective was not put into operation.[250])

The federal government set up a national Indigenous advisory group in early March, to create an emergency response plan for Aboriginal communities.[248] The 43-page plan was published in March,[251] and in late March, the Prime Minister that advised that Indigenous Australians over the age of 50 (along with everyone over 70 and those with a chronic illness over 60), should stay at home as much as possible.[252][253] The Department of Health created a web page dedicated to advice for Indigenous people and remote communities,[254] and the National Indigenous Australians Agency has one dedicated to the government's response to COVID-19.[255] On 18 April the NIAA announced a government package of Template:AUD million of "targeted measures to support Indigenous businesses and communities to increase their responses to COVID-19", for the coming two financial years.[256]

The Northern Territory developed a remote health pandemic plan,[248] with NT Health setting up a number of remote clinics across the Territory.[257] All non-essential travel to the 76 remote communities was banned, and a 14-day isolation period imposed for those residents wanting to return home from regional centres, and in May, health officials suggested that these controls should stay in place for the foreseeable future.[258] In mid-March, a group of senior NT clinicians called for 16 measures to be implemented as soon as possible to help protect vulnerable communities.[259] Other states and territories have provided advice on their health agency websites.[260][261][262]

A group of Barkindji families set up a tent town on the banks of the Darling River near Wilcannia in New South Wales, to escape the threat of the disease from overcrowded accommodation in the town.[263]

Demand for investigation[edit source | edit]

On 19 April Australia questioned China's handling of the epidemic, questioned the transparency of its disclosures, and demanded an international investigation into the origins of the virus and its spread.[264] The Chinese Ambassador Cheng Jingye, in a rare breach of diplomatic protocol, leaked details of his telephone conversation with Frances Adamson, Secretary of Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, on the embassy website.[265] He warned that the demand for an inquiry could result in a consumer boycott of students and tourists visiting Australia, and could affect sales of major exports.[266] A trade dispute involving improperly labelled beef and barley dumping ensued, which seriously affected Australian exports.[267]

Event cancellations[edit source | edit]

National[edit source | edit]

New South Wales[edit source | edit]

Tasmania[edit source | edit]

South Australia[edit source | edit]

Victoria[edit source | edit]

Sport[edit source | edit]

The major sporting leagues (A-League, AFL, AFL Women's, and the National Rugby League) initially stated that their seasons would not be suspended but would continue behind closed doors. The leagues would all later be suspended.[citation needed]

Athletics

The 2020 Stawell Gift has been postponed until later in the year.[293]

Australian rules football

The AFL season was initially curtailed to a maximum of 17 games,[294] with clubs expected to take at least a 10% revenue hit from coronavirus related issues.[295] However, on 22 March, just before the end of round 1 of the 2020 season, AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan announced that the AFL season would be suspended until at least 31 May, citing the shutting of state borders as the primary cause for this decision.[296] The 2020 AFL Women's season was cancelled midway through the finals series, with no premiership awarded to any team.[297][296]

Basketball

The 2020 NBL Finals followed suit beginning with game two, although it was stated that they would be immediately suspended if any participants were to be diagnosed.[298] The best of five series was subsequently cancelled after the third game was played with the title awarded to Perth Wildcats.[299]

Cricket

The remaining two One Day Internationals between Australia and New Zealand were cancelled after the first match was played behind closed doors.[300] Cricket Australia also cancelled the Australian women's cricket team's tour of South Africa due to the virus.[268]

Motorsports

The first sporting event in Australia to be affected was the 2020 Australian Grand Prix, which was cancelled on 13 March after McLaren withdrew when a team member tested positive for COVID-19.[301] This was also enforced on the support races which included the 2020 Melbourne 400, which was the second round of the 2020 Supercars Championship to be cancelled.[citation needed]

Rugby league

Following the implementation of travel restrictions by New Zealand,[302] the Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) announced that the New Zealand Warriors would be based in Australia for the foreseeable future.[303] The 2020 season was suspended indefinitely on 23 March.[304] Chairman of the ARLC Peter V'landys requested a government bailout for the National Rugby League, a request that was struck down,[305] and caused a considerable negative reaction.[306][307]

On 22 April, the NRL announced that they will plan for the season to restart on 28 May, with training beginning on 4 May,[308] and has planned for 18 rounds (giving a 20-round season) and a State of Origin series, with the Grand Final rescheduled for 25 October.[309]

The NRL season recommenced on May 28 with a round 3 game played in Brisbane between the Brisbane Broncos and Parramatta Eels [310]. The match was played behind closed doors without any crowd, although the broadcasters (Channel 9 and Foxsports) used fake crowd noise during the broadcast [311]. The return match rated highly on TV as it was the first TV match of a team sport in Australia for 8 weeks.[312]

Rugby union

The 2020 Super Rugby season was suspended following the conclusion of play on 15 March, due to the outbreak and the imposition of mandatory quarantine for international travellers to New Zealand.[313]

Soccer

The A-League initially announced a continuation of the league with the Wellington Phoenix being based in Australia;[314] however, on 24 March, suspended the remaining matches.[315]

See also[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

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  280. Maitland Steamiest cancelled due to coronavirus crowd ban Maitland Mercury 16 March 2020
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  310. National Rugby League website
  311. Sam Phillips. Fake yeews: The story behind the NRL's new faux crowd noise. Sydney Morning Herald May 29, 2020
  312. Sam Phillips. Broncos-Eels clash most-watched regular-season NRL game since 2014. Sydney Morning Herald May 29, 2020
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Further reading[edit source | edit]

External links[edit source | edit]

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