Coronavirus (COVID-19) news archive

19 June 2020

  • As COVID-19 restrictions continue to be lifted, an increasing number of people will be travelling to and from university and work on public transport. For more information about keeping safe on public transport, visit:
  • The NSW Government recently announced changes to the number of people allowed on public transport from July 1. For more details and guidelines, click here.

11 May 2020

  • The Federal Government has announced a 3-step plan towards easing restrictions: Roadmap to a COVIDSafe Australia. For a more detailed look at the stages, click here.
  • States and Territories will ease restrictions at different times based on local conditions.
  • From today, students in NSW will be returning to school at least one day a week. To read about the other restrictions that have been eased in NSW, click here.
  • From May 18th, WA will also be easing a number of restrictions. To read about what restrictions have been eased in WA, click here.
  • Some local and regional travel is now permitted.

1 May 2020

  • Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy has announced there are 6765 active cases of COVID-19 across the nation but with less than 20 new cases being reported per day, Australia is performing better than expected in terms of flattening the curve.
  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said he would discuss the early easing of social distancing restrictions at next Friday’s cabinet meeting. However, he encouraged more Australians to download the CovidSAFE app, which is part of the government’s plan to help keep Australian safe as restrictions are lifted. More information about the app, is available here: https://www.health.gov.au/resources/apps-and-tools/covidsafe-app
  • Some social distancing restrictions have been lifted already. The ABC has put together this helpful guide for what is and isn’t allowed, by state.

24 April 2020

  • While most traditional ANZAC Day services have been cancelled as a result of COVID-19, ABC will be broadcasting a dawn service from 5.30amAEST tomorrow. A reminder that Monday is a public holiday in WA.
  • Chief medical officer Brendan Murphy has said that easing restrictions on family gatherings, shopping and sports was under consideration.

22 April 2020

  • The government’s new contact tracing app will be rolled out within the next fortnight. The PM has said it would not be compulsory to download. More helpful FAQs on the app are available in an ABC report.
  • With only 26 new COVID-19 cases reported overnight Australia-wide, the curve is flattening but there are no immediate plans to lift the social distancing restrictions in place.
  • The NSW Premier announced a plan for a staged reopening of schools.

16 April 2020

  • The Prime Minister and Premiers will seek to come to some agreement about the reopening of schools and safety measures in place for students and teachers at today’s cabinet meeting. The NSW Premier has said that at this stage the plan is for students to continue online learning and reintroduce face-to-face learning by Term 3.
  • The Federal Government has indicated it will introduce the TraceTogether app (used in Singapore already) to track coronavirus patients and the people they come in contact with. While the app would be voluntary, its introduction has raised concerns around privacy issues.
  • The Ruby Princess will be required to leave Australian waters by Sunday according to a deadline set by the NSW Police Commissioner.
  • The NSW Premier has reminded people to stay home if they are feeling sick, after a healthcare worked unknowingly passed on COVID-19 to residents and staff at the Anglicare Newmarch House where she worked. The employee had mild symptoms and continued attending work. NSW has also increased testing in more hotspot areas to encourage more people to be tested if feeling unwell.
  • 70% of people are saying they are buying and drinking more alcohol daily because of stress/concern connected with COVID-19.
  • A Perth man has become the first person jailed for breaching coronavirus quarantine laws repeatedly.
  • World News: The International Monetary Fund has announced it’s ready to mobilise US$1 trillion in capital for low-interest loans for 102 of its members struggling to manage the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.

13 April 2020

  • Education Minister Dan Tehan has announced the Federal Government will guarantee $18-billion of funding to universities this year, even if their domestic enrolments drop, and provide $100-million of regulatory fee relief to the tertiary education sector, including private vocational education and training. Under the relief package for higher education providers, the government is also creating cut-price online courses for Australians to re-skill at home.
  • Under changes made by the State Government, from April 17 NSW doctors will be able to prescribe medication via email or fax, making it easier for patients to access medicines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Also in NSW, State Government has announced a $440-million residential and commercial rent package, which will force landlords and tenants to negotiate in a bid to stop rent strikes or evictions.
  • WA Premier Mark McGowan has said he'd keep restrictions in place despite the state recording three new cases, its lowest daily number since testing began.

8 April 2020

  • The Minister for Education Dan Tehan has said Year 12 students will graduate and receive an ATAR university entrance rank this year, despite disruptions to schools. He will be looking at possible adjustment to this year’s ATAR scoring. "When it comes to how the ATAR is calculated and assessed, the Commonwealth is going to do further work with the university sector, with the vocational education sector and will come back to the Education Council in May," he said.
  • A long-term strategy to ease social-isolation restrictions and expose Australians to COVID-19 in manageable doses is being considered by the country’s chief health officials as one of a range of options for how to deal with COVID-19 in the absence of a vaccine.

5 April 2020

  • The public has been warned against using imported at-home coronavirus testing kits that could undermine the work of health professionals by providing false negatives.
  • People have been urged not to travel for the Easter holidays. Random ID checks will be conducted on people in rural areas of NSW throughout the holidays to ensure people from the greater Sydney area are not travelling unnecessarily​. Police officers will also be deployed to major supermarkets this week after Woolworths and Coles pledged to dramatically increase social distancing measures ahead of the Easter rush.

3 April 2020

  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison has warned restrictions/social distancing could continue until October.
  • The government has announced free childcare for parents who need to work during the COVID-19 pandemic across some 13,000 centres. The free childcare would be in place for six months from next week and would not be means tested.
  • WA will be the first state to introduce hard borders. The WA Premier is urging residents to return to the state before Sunday night’s border closures. Exemptions include health services, emergency workers, transport/freight/logistics, national and state security, judicial services, FIFO workers and families.
  • The Queensland border at Coolangatta and Tweed Heads has now been shut to non-residents or those with a specific exemptions, such as work.
  • The NSW Premier has announced $10,000 grants for small businesses to help with fixed costs.
  • The Ruby Princess scandal has escalated, with another two passengers dying after contracting the coronavirus on the ship — the largest source of Australian deaths from the pandemic — and federal and state leaders accusing the cruise operator of lying. The Premier has ordered an investigation into the disaster.
  • The workplace tribunal has announced plans to give unpaid "pandemic leave" and more annual leave at half pay to millions of workers.

1 April 2020

  • Over 200,000 businesses registered for the $130-billion JobKeeper wage subsidy in 24 hours. Parliament will join next Wednesday to consider the new legislation.
  • NSW Police are cracking down on people in public spaces, sending people home even if they are following social distancing rules. This follows a cluster in Bondi (thought to be caused by backpackers) and has led to a pop-up testing clinic in the area.
  • The NSW Premier is urging people who can to ‘retool’ their businesses to help manufacture medical supplies due to shortages in the global market.
  • Authorities are urging people aged over 65 to get a flu vaccine.
  • Over 40,000 doctors, nurses, midwives and pharmacists who are no longer practicing or registered will be encouraged to re-enter the workforce to boost Australia’s capacity to treat patients throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Over 30,000 West Australians are currently in mandatory self-isolation at home after returning from overseas in recent weeks.

31 March 2020

  • As part of the government’s $130-billion relief package, struggling businesses will receive fortnightly wage subsidy up to $1500 per employee on the books since March 1 (amendments could still be made but this will be a base point). Nearly 200,000 businesses have already registered. If you require information about the new JobSeeker payment, click here.
  • The NSW Premier has warned the public not to look at the drop in daily increase of positive COVID-19 cases because the threat is the cases we don’t know about that are occurring through community transmission. Testing will be increased in ‘hot spots’ such as in the Eastern suburbs of Sydney.
  • In WA, drones are being deployed to deliver audio warnings regarding social distancing rules. Stage 3 restrictions are now in place in WA and include hard closures of the border, as well as playgrounds, skate parks and outdoor gym equipment in line with the Federal Government’s recommendations.
  • NSW and VIC have begun issuing fines and enforcing the two-person gathering rules.
  • You can now download the Australian Department of Health’s official Coronavirus Australia app for updates. More information available here.

30 March 2020

  • Federal Government offers $130b in coronavirus wage subsidies for businesses to pay workers, more information here.
  • WA Police drones will be deployed to public spaces to deliver audio warnings to those caught flouting social distancing rules.
  • Premier Mark McGowan has today announced stage three restrictions for WA residents which will include the hard closure of our border and the closure of playgrounds, skate parks and outdoor gym equipment.
  • COVID-19 clinics in WA are opening to the wider community who have symptoms such as a fever and respiratory illness.
  • Deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly says the government's social distancing measures are working, with a "stabilisation of the numbers" of new infections - but "this is not a time to take the foot off the brake”.

29 March 2020

  • ​A WA Police Enforcement squad of more than 200 police officer will hit the streets of WA to ensure people are complying with quarantine and gathering requirements in response to COVID-19. The State Government will introduce $1,000 on-the-spot fines for individuals and $5,000 fines for businesses who disobey the rules. More details here.
  • Beyond Blue will set up a COVID-19 mental health support service which offers free information, counselling and referrals online and by phone for people struggling with the impacts of the pandemic. Get support here.
  • State and territories will put a moratorium on rental evictions of people in financial distress for the next six months.
  • From 30 March 2020, the Australian Government will expand Medicare-subsidised telehealth services (where treatment can be delivered by phone or videoconferencing) for all Australians. Services will include GP services and some consultation services provided by other medical specialists. Read the official statement here.
  • Public gatherings outdoors are now limited to two people only (previously 10 people).
  • The Government has launched a WhatsApp service to share information more quickly and easily. Access it at oz.gov.au/whatsapp.

28 March 2020

  • From midnight AEDT on 28 March 2020 all people entering Australia will be required to undertake their mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated facilities (for example, a hotel), in their port of arrival. Travellers will be transported directly to designated facilities after appropriate immigration, customs and enhanced health checks. More information about travel restrictions is available here.
  • Australian Defence Force personnel will support state and territory police to ensure travellers comply with mandatory self-isolation measures.
  • The WA Government will introduce further restrictions on travel within Western Australia from 31 March 2020 (12.00am AWST Wednesday morning 1 April 2020). Western Australian intrastate travel is defined as movement through the boundaries of the regions of Western Australia. For information on what the regions are, visit the state government website here.

27 March 2020

  • The University can confirm that a student enrolled at our Sydney campus has tested positive for COVID-19. The student has been in self-isolation since 17th March, and tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday, on 26th March.

    Contact tracing and additional cleaning is being undertaken, and the University is working closely with NSW Health to minimise any further risk of transmission. The student is receiving appropriate medical care and is recovering at home in isolation. We are in contact to provide support and counselling through what is undoubtedly a difficult time.

    The university’s rapid transition to digital learning platforms, supporting social distancing to protect students and staff has been both rapid and successful. We want to again acknowledge the tremendous effort by everyone involved to ensure course work can continue as much as possible with little disruption.

26 March 2020

  • The Government is offering $750 one-off support payments to 6.5 million Australians including some eligible students. Click here to find out if you’re eligible and what you need to do to ensure you receive the payment.

25 March 2020

  • The Commonwealth Government will implement a ‘do not travel’ ban on Australians travelling overseas under the Biosecurity Act 2015. Exemptions will be managed by the Australian Border Force and will apply to a range of categories of travellers, including for those citizens ordinarily resident overseas, where travel is essential or necessary, where travel is in our national interest, and on compassionate and humanitarian grounds. Read the Prime Minister’s official statement here.
  • The Prime Minister further tightened COVID-19 lockdown, restricting social gatherings including weddings and funerals. Other services to close include real estate auctions, beauty salons, community centres such as pools and libraries, shopping centre food courts (takeaway permitted) and entertainment venues. See the full list here.
  • There will be enforcement of the required self-isolation measures (for those who have been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 or returned from international travel) with penalties – this will be managed by the States.

22 March 2020

  • NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced that NSW will proceed to a more comprehensive shutdown of non-essential services over the next 48 hours, with more specific details to come. Read her official statement here. Check nsw.gov.au for further updates.
  • Victoria will also shut down non-essential services in the next 48 hours, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced.​ Read his statement here.
  • WA has announced it will be shutting its borders from 1.30pm (AWST) Tuesday. Exemptions apply for essential services and workers. Interstate arrivals will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. Check wa.gov.au​ for further updates.

19 March 2020

The Australian Government announced that from 9pm AEDT 20 March 2020, only Australian citizens, residents and immediate family members can travel to Australia.

18 March 2020

  • The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade has raised travel advice to Level 4 today, advising all Australians to not travel overseas at this time. It’s recommended that people travelling overseas who wish to return to Australia should do so as soon as possible. For more information, visit Smartraveller.
  • The Australian Government has banned non-essential, indoor gatherings of more than 100 people. However, this will not impact universities at this stage. The pre-existing ban restricting mass gatherings to 500 people will remain in place for outdoor events. For the official statement, click here.

16 March 2020

The Australian Government announced all travellers arriving in Australia will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. For more information about what this means, visit the NSW Department of Health website or the Department of Home Affairs for travel advice.

13 March 2020

  • The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade has advised all Australians to reconsider their need to travel overseas at this time, regardless of destination, age or health. For more information, visit smartraveller.gov.au/crisis/covid-19-and-travel.
  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison has advised against organised, non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people to limit the spread of coronavirus. Currently this does not impact “essential services such as schools, workplaces, hospitals, public transportation, domestic travel and universities as well as public transient places such as shopping centres.” To read the full media release, visit https://www.pm.gov.au/media/advice-coronavirus.