Coronavirus Disease

COVID-19

Latest update May 4, 2022  

If you're concerned about COVID Safety at your workplace, let us know. www.covidsafeworkplace.org

Introduction

In January 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of a new coronavirus disease in Hubei Province, China to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. WHO stated there is a high risk of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spreading to other countries around the world. On March 10, WHO declared the disease a pandemic.

Currently, the coronavirus COVID-19 is affecting 223 countries and territories around the world. Check out this website for a world map: Mapping the Coronavirus Outbreak Across the World, Bloomberg

WHO and public health authorities around the world continue to take action to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. However, long term success cannot be taken for granted. All sections of our society – including businesses and employers – must play a role. 

For more information on what COVID-19 is, how it is spread, the current situation and what the Australian governments are doing, go to the bottom of the page.  

Researchers spotted the Omicron variant in genome-sequencing data from Botswana in November 2021. The Omicron variant has a large number of mutations compared with previous variants, more than 30 of which are in the spike protein – the 'key' used by the virus to enter the body’s cells. The large number of mutations has raised concerns that the antibodies from previous infections or vaccination may no longer be well matched. Experts are saying, however, that it is likely that some residual immunity, for example from T-cells, will remain.

Omicron has now become the dominant strain of COVID-19 in Australia, although the Delta strain is still circulating in the community. Thankfully, Omicron appears to be less severe than previous variants and the risk of severe disease may be reduced by up to 70 per cent. However, the variant spreads significantly faster and can still lead to serious illness or death. However, due to the high percentage of Australians who have now been vaccinated (including the third shot), the number of hospitalisations has not increased at the same rate. 

The rapid emergence of Omicron posed challenges to workers and workplace health and safety. Workers were far more likely to catch the virus at work making employers' legal obligation to ensure the health and safety of workers more important than ever. Staff shortages due to isolation meant more pressure on workers to perform tasks outside of their job description or work unsafe hours, particularly in essential industries such as healthcare, essential retail and food transport and manufacturing. Familiar tools such as good ventilation, social distancing, adequate PPE and the ability to work from home where possible are all essential in ensuring the spread of Omicron continues to slow. 

If you suspect that your employer is shirking their health and safety obligations, contact your union.

It appears that we have reached the 'peak' - in large part due to high levels of vaccination. 

Due to the high numbers of Omicron infections, Australia is now using a combination of PCR testing and Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs). See COVID-19 Vaccines for more information. 

NOTE: this material is being updated and amended regularly. 

Action Plan for HSRs

COVID-19 has been, and continues to be, a serious threat to the health and safety of workers across the country. By law, the health and safety of workers is the responsibility of employers. The failure of government to properly address the issue of casual workers, most of whom found themselves without income during the worst of the outbreaks in Australia if they were not able to work, potentially put the community at risk. 

Under the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act employers have a legal duty of care to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of their employees and others at the workplace. (See: Duties of employers) This duty also applies to 'persons conducting a business or undertaking' (PCBUs) under WHS legislation in other Australian states and territories.

Employers are BY LAW required to identify and control risks to health and safety through these four steps:

  1. Identify hazards
  2. Assess risks
  3. Control risks
  4. Review controls

While a number of vaccines have been developed, and the rate of vaccination has increased in Australia, we are still well behind most OECD countries. In any case, we cannot rely on vaccinations and will need to continue to control the risk of infection at the source. 

The need to have control measures in place remains.

Australian workers, many of whom have been working from home for the best part of a year, are now starting to return to their physical workplaces. There are still strict limits in place with regards to numbers and space. The 'rules' vary from state to state, so check the information relevant to you. There are still numbers of workers working from home, and likely to be for some time. Employers still have a duty of care to their employees, even when they are working from home (or 'teleworking'). There are steps employers need to take to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that employees' health and safety is safeguarded. For more information on Teleworking, go to this page.

You may also wish to use our series of checklists, compiled and up to date for current requirements in Victorian workplaces:

General Checklist for HSRs

Checklist for Controls in the Workplace

Checklist for a Confirmed Case

Rights of HSRs 

HSRs have a right to:

  1. get information from the employer - this includes getting information if your employer has had to notify WorkSafe that a worker has tested positive to COVID-19
  2. be consulted when your employer is developing and implementing measures to control the risk of COVID-19 (See: Duty to Consult).  As restrictions are lifted in some areas, HSRs must be consulted on return to work arrangements and measures the employer will take. For workplaces which have either continued to operate, or have employees returning to work, the employer must develop and implement a COVIDSafe plan. The HSR must be consulted and involved in its development, implementation and subsequent amendments. Download this form to use during meetings with the employer, to take note of where agreement has been reached and where it has not.
    WorkSafe Victoria has also released a consultation checklist for HSRs 
  3. get outside assistance such as contacting your union
  4. issue a Provisional Improvement Notice (PIN) if your employer fails to:

    1. consult with you when identifying, assessing or developing and implementing measures to control the risk of COVID-19 infection 
    2. take effective measures to control the risk of COVID-19 infection 

VTHC has put together two pro forma PINs for use over the risk of COVID-19 in the workplace: 

i - to issue to an employer you believe to be in breach of Section 21: i.e. the duty of the employer to provide and maintain so far as is reasonably practicable, a working environment that is safe and without risk to health

ii - to issue to an employer you believe to be in breach of Section 35: i.e. the duty of the employer to consult with HSRs and employees.

5. where necessary, issue a Cease Work

If still working at the workplace OR going back to work:

There are many workers who have not been able to work remotely. These include:

  • health care workers
  • child care workers
  • emergency and other essential services workers
  • retail workers - supermarket, food and restaurants/cafes/etc doing take away
  • construction workers and
  • .. ?

If you or your DWG are concerned about the risk of contracting COVID-19, then raise this issue immediately with your employer. Do not wait for your employer to come to you. Meet with your employer to discuss the possibility of as many people as possible working from home.

While Victoria is no longer in lockdown - and the advice to work from home has been lifted, there are still a few restrictions in place, such as wearing masks in some indoor settings. 

All workplaces still need to have a COVIDSafe plan in place.  The plans must document all measures being taken to ensure the risk of transmission is minimised. And don't forget that before developing, implementing and amending the COVIDSafe plans and procedures, employers must consult with HSRs - if there are no HSRs, then the employer must consult with workers. 

For those HSRs who are at work or have DWG members at work, or who are now returning to work, they need to:

  • check with your DWG members regarding whether they have any concerns and what these are;
  • check the extent of COVID-19 in your community;
  • look at possible workplace factors and/or activities which may increase the risk, for example:
    • contact with people potentially suffering with COVID-19 (for example if your workplace is a hospital emergency department; isolation unit; health care provider; etc)
    • contact with persons arriving from overseas
    • working in close proximity with large numbers of the public
    • check with your employer whether any employee has notified that they have contracted COVID-19
    • etc
  • request a meeting with your employer/employer's health and safety representative to discuss what measures need to be implemented, when and how. Go through your employer's COVIDSafe plan (if in Victoria). See below for advice to employers based on a WHO publication;
  • check the requirements for the workforce to be vaccinated, and ensure your employer has consulted with all HSRs regarding how they will monitor who has received the vaccination;
  • ensure that the employer provides adequate training, information and supervision to members of your DWG;
  • if you are concerned that your employer is not doing enough, raise this as an OHS issue (see Resolution of issues)
  • contact your union for further advice, in particular regarding industrial rights (eg payment if isolation is required); issues around vaccinations, and so on.

Guidance on returning to work:

  • from SafeWork Australia - on COVID-19 Information for workplaces  This includes information for workplaces about work health and safety for COVID-19.
  • Guidance from the TUC: Return to safe workplaces

    If employers want workers to return to their normal place of work, they must make sure it’s done safely, to protect the health of workers, customers and the public. A new TUC Education online publication gives a step-by-step how-to guide. It goes in turn through Covid-19-specific risk assessments, employers’ duties (obviously based on the UK laws), consultation, and steps to address risks to all workers, including vulnerable workers, and to get approval for plans before going ahead. It also goes through the need to communicate the Covid-19 plan to the workforce, and for employers to publish their workplace plan on the company website. There’s lots more, and it is easy to navigate – have a look. Return to safe workplacesTUC Education, May 2020.

  • From the ILO: a Guidance Note, A safe and healthy return to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is accompanied by a 10-point, Practical Guidance action checklist for employers, workers and their representatives. This tool is intended to compliment and not replace national occupational safety and health regulations and guidance, to help establish the practical details of a safe return to work. Read more: ILO press release. Download the Guidance Note [pdf]

Masks

Victoria - Update May, 2022:

Many of the restrictions have been relaxed, including those on the mandatory wearing of masks. However, these must still be worn in some situations: on pubic transport and in some other settings such as healthcare, and when it is not possible to physically isolate. It is no longer a requirement in Victoria for close contacts of positive cases to isolate - however close contacts must wear masks indoors, including in the workplace, for the period they would have been isolating. See our advice on masks here: COVID-19 and masks. While many restrictions have now been lifted, there are still some things in place. More information on restrictions, etc, see this page Victorian situation

Working from home:

More and more workers are heading back to their 'physical' workplace, although some are still working from home. For those who have gone back - it is becoming apparent is that many companies are allowing their employees to work from home for at least part of the week. As we have all had this experience in last year's long lockdown, the necessary equipment has been in place at the home. HSRs need to be involved with arrangements the employer puts in place and maintains for any workers who will be working from home for any part of their working week. The employer must:

  1. Ensure that the work is able to be completed remotely
  2. Ensure that arrangements are in place for these people regarding the physical environment and equipment. There are checklists available - for example this one.
  3. Also ensure that arrangements are in place to as much as possible safeguard the mental health of those working at home. Some suggestions:
    • regular phone calls at set times
    • team meetings using programs such as Zoom

See this page on Working from home for advice. This page also has links to more information. 

Advice for Employers

Remember under the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act employers:

  1. have a legal duty of care to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of their employees and others at the workplace. This includes providing and maintaining a work environment and systems of work that are, so far as is reasonably practicable, without risk to health and safety. This includes where workers are working from home. This duty also applies to 'persons conducting a business or undertaking' (PCBUs) under WHS legislation in other Australian states and territories.
  2. must provide information and training for employees regarding the potential health risks, and measures taken to reduce these risks
  3. must monitor the health of employees. Many employers and workplaces, such as schools, are now using Rapid antigen tests (RATs) as one tool in identifying employees who are potentially positive. Safe Work Australia has produced guidance for employers/PCBUs on the use of Rapid antigen testing.
  4. must consult with HSRs when identifying or assessing hazards or risks, and when making decisions on the measures to control these. See WorkSafe Victoria's consultation checklist.

All Victorian workplaces which are operating and/or are planning to have workers return on-site must have a COVIDSafe plan in place.

As noted above, there are still some workers are working from home and may continue to do so for part of their working week. See this page for advice.

Ways to minimise the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace

The low-cost measures below will help limit the spread of infections in the workplace, such as colds, flu and stomach bugs, and protect customers, contractors and employees. These should now be permanent measures and will assist in reducing other infectious diseases such as influenza and the common cold. 

Employers should have implemented these measures and will need to have them in place: 

  • Ensure all employees are provided with information and training on what they need to do - for example maintaining a distance of at least 1.5-2m from others (or more if possible as we now know that coronavirus is spread through aerosols).

  • Ensure workplaces are properly ventilated - this has become increasingly important as we learn more about how the virus spreads. The ACTU has released a factsheet about workplace ventilation and COVID-19, developed with the assistance of infectious diseases experts.  Knowledge on the details of exactly how COVID-19 is spread between individuals has continued to improve and workplaces need to take action to prevent further transmission. There is now much clearer evidence that to stop the spread of the virus, fresh air and good ventilation – especially in workplaces – are essential.  Read more: Ventilation on this site; ACTU advice on Ventilation 

  • Promote good respiratory hygiene in the workplace
    • installing clear screens between employees and members of the public where possible (eg at registers, serving counters and windows)
    • Display posters promoting respiratory hygiene. Combine this with other communication measures such as offering guidance from occupational health and safety officers, briefing at meetings and information on the intranet etc. 
    • Ensure that face masks (Ordinary surgical face masks rather than N95 face mask unless in medical workplaces) and/or paper tissues are available at your workplaces, for those who develop a runny nose or cough at work, along with closed bins for hygienically disposing of them
    • Ensure physical distancing is maintained
    • Why? Because it is now been proven that the COVID-19 virus is spread most easily by aerosols and good respiratory hygiene prevents the spread of COVID-19

  • Make sure the workplaces are clean and hygienic
    • Surfaces (e.g. desks and tables) and objects (e.g. telephones, keyboards, machinery handles) need to be wiped with disinfectant regularly
      The current advice is: "Surface disinfection with 0.1% sodium hypochlorite or 62-71 per cent ethanol significantly reduces coronavirus infectivity on surfaces within 1 minute of exposure time."
    • Workers should avoid hot-desking and sharing keyboards and mice. If they do need to share equipment, this should be wiped down with disposable disinfectant wipes

  • Promote regular and thorough hand-washing by employees, contractors and customers
    • Put sanitizing hand rub dispensers in prominent places around the workplace. Make sure these dispensers are regularly refilled
    • Display posters promoting hand-washing.  Hands need to be washed for at least 20 seconds.
    • Combine this with other communication measures to promote hand-washing
    • Make sure that employees, contractors and customers have access to places where they can wash their hands with soap and water

  • Discontinue any unnecessary overseas travel - while travel has recommenced, care needs to be taken and there are requirements in place. 

  • Brief employees, contractors and customers/clients: anyone with even a mild cough or low-grade fever (37.3 C or more) needs to stay at home. They should also stay home (or work from home) if they have had to take simple medications, such as paracetamol/acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin, which may mask symptoms of infection
    • Keep communicating and promoting the message that people need to stay at home even if they have just mild symptoms of COVID-19. Anyone who has been in close contact with a confirmed case must self-isolate for 14 days, and also contact the Coronavirus Hotline: 1800 675 398 
    • Display posters with this message in your workplaces.. 
    • Check elsewhere (such as WorkSafe, local public health authority or other partners) who may have developed campaign materials to promote this message
    • Make clear to employees that they will be able to count this time off as sick leave.

Travel advice (latest update May, 2022)

The advice from the Australian government is:

  • As of November 1, 2021, fully vaccinated Australians no longer needed to ask permission to leave the country, but those who are unvaccinated still require an exemption. 
  • Borders within Australia are almost all open now, but there are conditions attached (for example, providing negative COVID tests). However, conditions and restrictions could change suddenly. It is strongly advised that before travelling anywhere in Australia, you check.  Note: WA borders were due to open up on February 5, but this has been delayed.
  • From February 21, all fully vaccinated visa holders can now travel to Australia without a travel exemption. There is now no longer the requirement to go into isolation. Unvaccinated visa holders still need a travel exemption to enter Australia. Read more: Home Affairs 
  • Many countries have also changed their requirements - it is wise to check before travelling.

At your workplace 

Employers need to:

  • All Victorian businesses must still have a COVIDSafe plan in place. See this page for more information: COVID 19 Victorian situation
  • It is a Victorian government public health requirement that all 'authorised workers' be vaccinated. 

    For some workers, the requirement is now to not only have the two shots, but also the third, or 'booster' shot.

    This applies to healthcare, aged care, disability, emergency services, correctional facility, quarantine accommodation and food processing and distribution workers (excluding retail). Workplaces must sight and record proof of vaccination. It will not apply to workers who have a valid medical exemption. (For more information, see: Information for industry and workers required to be vaccinated). 

  • Review infection control policies, procedures and practices to ensure they are effective and being followed
  • Ensure that all employees have been provided with adequate training and information on these procedures
  • Ensure you are monitoring employees' health
  • Develop a plan of what to do if someone becomes ill with suspected COVID-19 at one of your workplaces
    • The plan should cover putting the ill person in a room or area where they are isolated from others in the workplace, limiting the number of people who have contact with the sick person and contacting the local health authorities.
    • Consider how to identify persons who may be at risk, and support them, without inviting stigma and discrimination into the workplace. This could include persons who have recently travelled to an area reporting cases, or other personnel who have conditions that put them at higher risk of serious illness (e.g. diabetes, heart and lung disease, older age).

  • Develop and implement a contingency and business continuity plan. The plan should address how to keep the business running even if a significant number of employees, contractors and suppliers cannot come to the place of business - either due to local restrictions on travel or because they are ill. 
    • Communicate to the employees and contractors about the plan and make sure they are aware of what they need to do – or not do – under the plan. Emphasize key points such as the importance of staying away from work even if they have only mild symptoms or have had to take simple medications (e.g. paracetamol, ibuprofen) which may mask the symptoms 
    • Ensure the plan addresses the mental health and social consequences of a case of COVID-19 in the workplace and offer information and support.

Advice for Workers

Remember:

  1. Your employer has a general duty of care to provide and maintain for employees a working environment that is, so far as is reasonably practicable, a working environment that is safe and without risks to health. This includes a safe working environment and safe systems of work, and also applies if you are working from home.
  2. Your employer must provide you with information and training, and the appropriate PPE (for example, masks)
  3. You have a duty under the Act too: to take reasonable care for your health and safety, that your acts or omissions do not adversely affect others, and to co-operate with actions your employer takes regarding controlling COVID-19 and other risks in the workplace.
  4. If you are an Authorised worker, in order to continue to work, you had to have your third dose (if eligible) by 12 February 2022, although this was extended for some workers. (see: Information for industry and workers required to be vaccinated)

What you should do:

  • Get vaccinated as soon as possible. Those who received their second vaccine three months before now need to organise their third ('booster') vaccine. As of early April, people who are over 65 years of age (over 55 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders) are now able to receive the fourth vaccine. 
  • Maintain good hygiene:
    • maintain a distance of at least 2 metres from another person (even though official advice is still 1.5m) - if this is not possible due to the nature of your work, then you should be wearing a mask, particularly if you are working with people who may be infected
    • cover your mouth with a tissue or sneeze/cough into an elbow
    • dispose of tissues, paper towel, etc, into closed bins immediately after use
    • if at work, do not hot-desk or share keyboards and mice. If you do need to share equipment, this should be wiped down with disposable disinfectant wipes
  • If in Victoria (but check your own jurisdiction): A mask is no longer mandatory in most indoor locations - but is still required on public transport and in some health care settings. It is still advised when it is not possible to physically distance however. See the VTHC advice on Wearing masks.  
  • If you are an essential worker, stay at home if unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headaches and a slight running nose
  • Raise any concerns with your elected HSR and/or your union

Advice to all workplaces parties:

It is crucial to take action to minimise the risk of COVID-19. Simple precautions and planning can make a big difference. Action now will help protect your employees and your business.

More information on COVID-19

What is COVID-19 and how does it spread?

Given that there is a great deal of information available on what the disease is, how infectious it is and its symptoms, this will not be covered in detail here. We make the following points:

  • COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus. The Delta variant was more contagious, and the Omicron is even more infectious than the Delta!   
  • Initial advice was based on infection via droplet: When an infected person coughs or exhales they release droplets of infected fluid. Most of these droplets fall on nearby surfaces and objects. Infection can occur if someone touches contaminated surfaces or objects and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. If they are standing within one meter of a person with COVID-19 they can catch it by breathing in droplets coughed out or exhaled by them. 
  • NOTE: More recent, compelling and now accepted evidence is that the virus primarily spreads via aerosols, making it more contagious. This explains how people have caught the virus in hotel quarantine when doors have opened into corridors.  See: Ventilation on this site, and the ACTU guidance: Ventilation
  • Most persons infected with COVID-19 experience mild symptoms and recover. However, some go on to experience more serious illness and may require hospital care. People with weakened immune systems and people with conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung disease are also more vulnerable to serious illness.
  • Symptoms include:

    • fever
    • dry cough
    • tiredness
    • loss of sense of smell or taste
    • aches and pains
    • sneezing
    • sore throat
    • headaches
    • conjunctivitis
    • a rash on skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes 
    • diarrhoea 
  • It seems it takes between 2 and 10 days before people who are infected show symptoms. A person may not be showing any signs of illness, hence the ability for the infection to spread. This is not unlike the common cold or flu, but is much more infectious. 
  • It has now been proven that the 'Indian' variants of the virus (now called 'delta' and 'kappa' variants) are more contagious and that an infected person begins to have symptoms earlier. There is also new information emerging on the symptoms, period of infectiousness and more with the variants.  
  • It now also appears that some people who have 'recovered' from COVID-19 suffer permanent damage to some organs, such as the lungs or heart, while others suffer from 'Long COVID' - see below
  • there are now several vaccines available, both for the two initial shots and the third, 'booster' shot. It is extremely important to get vaccinated including the third, and the VTHC urges all workers to do so as soon as possible. 
  • Ensuring vaccination as well as taking all other measures to prevent the spread of the virus is critical. Those who have received both doses of the vaccine will need to arrange to receive the third, booster, shot at about six months after their second dose to ensure immunity does not wane. Those most at risk, the immunocompromised, for example, are receiving a fourth shot. 

The Delta variant

Delta was recognised as a SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern in May 2021 and has proved extremely difficult to control in unvaccinated populations. Delta has managed to out-compete other variants, including Alpha. Variants are classified as "of concern" because they're either more contagious than the original, cause more hospitalisations and deaths, or are better at evading vaccines and therapies. Or all of the above.

So how does Delta fare on these measures? And what have we learnt since Delta was first listed as a variant of concern? Read about the latest science in this ABC feature.

The Omicron Variants

This variant was identified and named in November 2021. It has now been proven that it is even more contagious than the Delta variant (4.5 times more contagious), but may not be as severe. However because of its extreme infectiousness, the numbers of active cases are much higher than they have ever been. To ensure that there is a high level of protection it is necessary to get the third, or 'booster' shot.

There is now a sub-variant of Omicron, which is even more contagious. This subvariant, BA.2 is taking over. 

According to a former World Health Organisation scientist, nearly everyone will catch the new BA.2 Omicron subvariant. 

Although the now-dominant strain is not as deadly as previous ones, including Delta, it is up to six times more infectious than the original strain of COVID-19. The virus is also up to 30 per cent more infectious than the initial BA.1 version of Omicron.  

The higher risk of contagiousness comes from the variant's superior ability to 'evade' immunity - meaning even triple-vaccinated people are susceptible to catching the new strain. More on the sub-variant: How much more transmissible is Omicron's BA.2 sub-variant? Sydney Morning Herald

Learn more about the Delta variant and the Omicron variant.

Long COVID

‘Long COVID’ is a term that is used if after four weeks your symptoms continue and prevent you from doing normal activities. Research studies estimate that one in five people has symptoms after five weeks, and 1 in 10 has symptoms for 12 weeks or longer after acute COVID-19. A policy brief on long COVID [pdf] was published by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in February 2021 and further sets out the symptoms, prevalence and management of the condition. Currently there is very little known on long COVID and Omicron.

A resource from the UK - COVID transmission and killer workplaces

This Hazards Campaign film explains why the coronavirus is so dangerous indoors, where aerosols can build up in the air. It notes COVID-19 risks can be higher in workplaces, where people spend long periods in an enclosed space in close proximity to others. The 27-minute film adds this is also why ventilation is so important and a critical factor that is barely mentioned in official guidance. The film, produced for the campaign by Reel News, and “explains what you can do to keep yourself and your workmates safe – using the latest information about Covid-19, extensive case studies of superspreader events and successful collective struggles by well-organised workplaces.” The film has many international experts, including some from Australia. It is an excellent resource for union training and awareness raising sessions.  Check out the new resource here: Covid transmission and killer workplaces, a Reel News/Hazards Campaign film, November 2020. 

Latest statistics

As at May 4, 2022 there had been 514,510,812 worldwide infections. There have now been 6,264,974 official COVID-related deaths worldwide. (Source: Worldometer. Note: the numbers are updated continually)

While many countries are now seeing fewer infections and fewer deaths, no doubt due to high vaccinations levels, other countries are still battling high numbers. Also, as noted above, the appearance of the Omicron variant of concern has meant increasing numbers of infections in many countries. 

The numbers in Australia are still increasing as we come out of the 'third wave' (Omicron). These are the number of infections in Australia since March last year (note these are the total number of cases)

Case numbers 2020

  • March 18: 596 
  • December 16: 28,045 

Case numbers  2021

  • June 30: 30,554 
  • October 26: 162,026
  • December 15: 235,529

Case numbers  2022

Between mid December and the end of January, Australia saw a huge increase of over 2 million cases due to the Omicron variant

  • January 26: 2,285,286 
  • February 21: 3,047,645
  • March 30: 4,436,572
  • April 27: 5,756,477
  • May 4: 6,029,879

Of great concern is that on May 3, Australia had the second highest number of new infections recorded, second only to the United States. These are raw numbers, not percentages. As at May 4, the total number of COVID-19 fatalities in Australia was 7,310.   

For more details on the situation in Australia, check Worldmeter, COVID19data.com or go to health.gov.au. For the Victorian situation, go to this page

Remember that each jurisdiction may still have different measures and restrictions in place - so check your own state/territory. 

For up to date information:

  • Victorian Department of Health and Human Services: About Coronavirus (COVID-19) - this is updated daily and has advice for the general public. 

How to stay informed:

Quiz:

https://ohsrepscovidquiz.netlify.com/story_html5.html