What Can We Learn From Australia’s Covid-19 Response?

Australia’s Covid-19 response has been the envy of many countries with Dr. Fauci recently praising the country for being a world leader on “containment and management of emerging variants”. Aside from a few brief snap lockdowns in certain states, most Australians have been enjoying a relatively normal life with the Broadway production of Hamilton recently opening in Sydney to full capacity theaters.

As of March 23, 2020, Australia has just five new cases of Covid-19. The majority of these new cases are not from community transmission but from the hotel quarantine system that houses Australian citizens returning from overseas. Even after experiencing a second surge of cases last year, Australia swiftly learned from its mistakes and cases never rose over 1,000 for a population of 25.36 million. All of this has been achieved without vaccinations. Australia only began its vaccination program on Feb 21, 2021, yet as you can see in the chart below (Figure 1) cases have remained low for almost six months. While Australia does have considerable advantages in terms of geographic isolation and population density there is still much we can learn from their response. Australia’s success proves that a strong public health response enforced by a democratic government focused on vigilant testing, tracing and quarantine is the key to fighting a pandemic.

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Originally published on Forbes on March 24, 2021


© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.