As of December 21, 2020, Australia has 28,198 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 908 related deaths. Aiming for “zero community transmission” of the virus from the beginning, the Australian government organized a “National Cabinet” composed of federal and state leaders, implemented a nationwide lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic in late March, and barred foreign nationals from entering or transiting through the country. Returning Australians are subject to 14 days of supervised quarantine in designated hotels. Through one of the highest testing rates in the world, the country was able to quash its first outbreak. A second, more deadly wave in late July due to an outbreak in a Melbourne quarantine hotel prompted a nearly four-month lockdown for the state of Victoria. Lockdown and quarantine provisions have been strict, sometimes enforced by police roadblocks and soldiers. Though transmission rates have levelled off, various jurisdictions continue to impose temporary quarantines and travel restrictions in response to emergent hotspots, such as the ongoing December outbreak in Greater Sydney. With more than a million jobs lost due to the pandemic, the government implemented the JobKeeper program—one of the largest stimulus packages in Australian history —which pays businesses to provide salaries and keep employees on payroll. It is anticipated that Australia and New Zealand will attempt to form a COVID-19 travel bubble in early 2021.

Western Australia’s Double Emergency: Bushfires and Lockdown (February 4, 2021)

Down Under Travel Bubble Confirmed, While Others in Asia Falter (December 14, 2020)

Pompeo Pushes Quad Toward Security Partnership (October 7, 2020)

Australia to Test Plan to Bring Back International Students (August 19, 2020)

COVID-19 Advances in Australia, the Philippines, Indonesia (August 5, 2020)

Australia’s COVID-19 Second Wave Deepens in Melbourne (July 24, 2020)

Asia Pacific States Brace for Second Wave of COVID-19 (June 22, 2020)

Death Sentence Ratchets Up Tension in China-Australia Relationship (June 15, 2020)

National Security Concerns Shake up Australia’s Foreign Investment Laws (June 10, 2020)

‘Don’t Travel to Australia’: China Warns Citizens as Tensions Flare (June 8, 2020)

India, Australia Strengthen Strategic Partnership (June 8, 2020)

China Expected to Announce Tariffs on Australia’s Barley Exports (May 11, 2020)

‘Travel Bubble’ Plans Floated Across the Pacific (May 4, 2020)

Australia launches Singapore-style COVID-19 app (April 27, 2020)

Special Dispatch | Australia Diverts Support to its Agriculture and Fisheries Sector to Offset COVID-19 Impacts (April 15, 2020)

Special Dispatch | Tracking the Asia Pacific’s Financial Policy Responses to COVID-19 (April 15, 2020)

Australia earmarks C$110M for fisheries, agriculture (April 3, 2020)

Aboriginal communities in Australia bracing for COVID-19 (March 30, 2020)

Australia, New Zealand respond to COVID-19 (March 22, 2020)

Asia’s central banks step in as stock markets fall (March 16, 2020)