Coronavirus in Australia and New Zealand

Bug Control want to give you a one-stop shop for actionable, reliable information for the developing COVID-19 threat. This page is being regularly updated with information from authoritative sources to help you stay equipped and on the bleeding edge of prevention, management and treatment.

COVID-19 Developments

For comprehensive up-to-date statistics on infection, recovery and death figures, please visit the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

2 April: COVID-19 cases confirmed in 17 Australian nursing homes.

CDC COCA call on clinical management of critically ill aged care patients with COVID-19.

New South Wales declares 90-day lockdown.

1 April: More than 80 Victorian healthcare workers test positive for COVID-19.

Aged care facility inspections (planned and unplanned) postponed indefinitely.

31 March: Victoria to enter Stage 3 restrictions.

29 March: WHO releases ‘Modes of transmission of virus causing COVID-19: implications for IPC precaution recommendations’

26 March: New Zealand enters Stage 4 restrictions.

25 March: The National COVID-19 Coordination Commission is established by the PM.

18 March: Australian PM Scott Morrison announces restrictions to visitors in aged care facilities.

17 March: Australia declares a biosecurity emergency and bans all meetings of 100 or more people.

16 March: NZ police start doing self isolation compliance checks. Total cases now up to 20.

Victoria declares a state of emergency for at least 4 weeks.

15 March: Prime Minister Scott Morrison announces that all Australians returning from overseas after midnight will be required to self-isolate.

14 March: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces that all New Zealanders returning from overseas after midnight Sunday will be required to self-isolate.

Australia bans all gatherings of over 500 people.

13 March: WHO declares Europe the epicentre of the pandemic.

12 March: World Health Organisation declares COVID-19 a pandemic.

In New Zealand, Healthline has now registered a total of 9039 people or households for self-isolation since the process began.

There are currently 2,145 registrations (people or households) for self-isolation.  An additional 6194 have completed isolation.

“I want to thank everyone who has self-isolated – whether that be confirmed cases, close contacts or those who’ve returned from overseas. Self-isolation really is one of the most important tools in the fight against COVID-19,” says Dr Bloomfield.

5 March: NZ MOH release a FAQ sheet specific to aged-care providers.

4 March:

  • NZMOH additionally extends travel restrictions to those traveling to/from Italy and South Korea also. Residents/citizens who return from those areas will go into self-quarantine for 2 weeks on return to NZ.
  • NZACA set to meet with NZMOH and DHB officials later today to discuss residential care Outbreak policies and support. A dedicated page for information and advice related to COVID-19 for aged care providers can be found on the NZACA website here.

3 March: Second confirmed NZ case. A woman returning from Singapore to Auckland has been diagnosed with coronavirus. She also took two domestic flights, from Auckland to Palmerston North and back again (NZ5013 and NZ8114). The woman and her husband are in self-quarantine. MOH stated those who on that flight and are concerned or want information should contact the Healthline number (0800 358 5453).

Two schools have also been notified as the children of this family attend the. These schools are Westlake Boys and Westlake Girls’ High Schools. The family members who attend these schools are not symptomatic and are now at home in isolation. They did not travel to Italy, are both well and are being monitored.


2 March:


29 February: First death reported in the US in King County. This death coincides with reports of an outbreak in LTCF, which is also in King County.

28 February: The World Health Organization increase the risk assessment of the coronavirus to ‘very high’, in light of the disease spreading to 49 countries as well as community-spread in the US.

28 February: New Zealand confirms its first case of coronavirus, making it the 48th country to report.

27 February:

26 February:

26 February: Concerns grow that US outbreak is ‘certain’

25 February:

24 February:

  • Kuwait reports first case of COVID-19
  • Iran’s neighbouring countries close borders to restrict immigration and travel.

22 February: Lebanon and Israel report first cases of COVID-19.

21 February: Australian coronavirus vaccine goes into test production.

19 February:

  • Hundreds tested negative, leave the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship. A total of 621 people aboard were infected.
  • Iran announced 2 COVID-19 cases, then hours later that they had died.
  • WHO situational reports show widespread confirmed cases in Europe, Western Pacific, S.E. Asia, Upper Americas and East Mediterranean regions.
  • WHO provides guidelines on lab diagnosis, using masks at home vs healthcare, clinical management, IPC in hospitals, home care, community engagement and global surveillance.
  • Situation report – 30

18 February: Xi says in a phone call with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that China’s measures to prevent and control the epidemic “are achieving visible progress,” according to state news Xinhua.

17 February:

15 February:

14 February:

13 February:

  • Added more than 14,840 new cases to the total number of infected in Hubei Province. That set a daily record, coming after officials in Hubei seemed to be including infections diagnosed by using lung scans of symptomatic patients.
  • The Communist Party fired top officials of Hubei Province and Wuhan.
  • First death in Japan

11 February: The WHO names the coronavirus COVID-19. The new name of this disease is coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated as COVID-19.

In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for the disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV.”

10 February:

8 February:

7 February: Li Wenliang, a Wuhan doctor who was targeted by police for trying to sound the alarm on a “SARS-like” virus in December, dies of the coronavirus.

4 February:

3 February:

2 February:

  • A man in the Philippines dies from the Wuhan coronavirus — the first time a death has been reported outside mainland China since the outbreak began.
  • NZ Govt instituted travel restrictions as of 2nd Feb midnight. Preventing foreign nationals travelling from or transiting through mainland China from entering NZ. Position will be reviewed every 48hrs. Exemptions include NZ citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family. As well as AUS citizens who reside in NZ. Lastly all air crews who have been using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • All people who are exempt from these temporary restriction should self-isolate for 14 days if they have been to mainland China.

1 February:

  • Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Singapore, US, the UAE and Vietnam confirm new cases. Russia, Spain and Sweden report first cases.
  • AUS announces it would bar entry to non-citizens coming from mainland China.


31 January:

30 January:

29 January:

  • Education departments in Australia and New Zealand release information for students returning to school.

28 January:

  • Bug Control’s Gilian Graham wrote about the novel coronavirus. It covers what the virus is, how it’s spreading and what measures should be put in place if you have a suspected case.
  • Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom in Beijing.At the meeting, Xi and the WHO agree to send a team of international experts, including US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention staff, to China to investigate the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Japan, Taiwan and Germany reports first domestic transmission case of COVID-19.
  • NZ Public Health Workers were sent to meet all passengers arriving on flights from China. NZ testing of the specimens are sent to Australia until end of the week when NZ is expected to be able to process their own.
  • NZ MOH created a special incident control team and activated the NZ pandemic plan.
  • NZ Health Minister putting forward legislation to make COVID-19 a notifiable Disease.

27 January: The World Health Organization tweetsthe total number of confirmed cases of the 2019 novel #coronavirus reported from mainland China to date is 2,744. This includes 461 severe cases and 80 people who have died.” (Note: These tweets have since been taken down)

26 January:

25 January: Further 5 cities on lockdown in Hubei province.

24 January: Travel restriction and lockdown imposed on 13 Hubei province cities.

23 January:

22 January: Wuhan says it will “temporarily” close its airport and railway stations for departing passengers following news that the death toll from the Wuhan Coronavirus has risen to 17. Chinese authorities confirm at least 570 cases including China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and U.S.A.

21 January:

20 January:

17 January:

16 January: Japanese authorities confirm that a Japanese man who traveled to Wuhan is infected with the virus.

14 January: 35 infrared thermometers have been installed in airports, railway stations, long-distance bus stations, and ferry terminals in China

13 January : Thai authorities report a case of infection caused by the coronavirus. The infected individual is a Chinese national who had arrived from Wuhan.

11 January: The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission announces the first death caused by the coronavirus. A 61-year-old man, exposed to the virus at the seafood market, died on January 9 after respiratory failure caused by severe pneumonia. He had a history of abdominal tumors and chronic liver disease.

10 January: the first novel coronavirus genome sequence was made publicly available. The sequence was deposited in the GenBank database (accession number MN908947) and was uploaded to the Global Initiative on Sharing all Influenza Data (GISAID).

7 January 2020: Chinese authorities confirm that they have identified the virus as a novel coronavirus, initially named 2019-nCoV by the WHO.

5 January 2020: China announces that the unknown pneumonia cases in Wuhan are not SARS or MERS. In a statement, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission says a retrospective probe into the outbreak has been initiated.

2 January 2020: The incident management system was activated across the three levels of WHO (country office, regional office and headquarters).

1 January 2020: Chinese health authorities close the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market after it is discovered that wild animals sold there may be the source of the virus.

According to the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission, samples from the market tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Cases showed symptoms such as fever, dry cough, dyspnoea, and radiological findings of bilateral lung infiltrates. European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Risk assessment: Outbreak of acute respiratory syndrome associated with a novel coronavirus, Wuhan, China; first update 2020 [updated 22 January 2020

31 December 2019: Cases of pneumonia detected in Wuhan, China, are first reported to the WHO. During this reported period, the virus is unknown. The cases occur between December 12 and December 29, according to Wuhan Municipal Health.