When the coronavirus arrived, aboriginal communities sprang into action long before the government. But in light of a neglected health system, can their tenuous successes be maintained?
- 67.7 Public Health
- 87.2 Financial
- 100 Fact-Based
Australia is a strong performer, particularly due to a generous financial response by way of income support, but delayed implementation of its policies pulls down its score.
Australia had relatively strong pre-pandemic capacity, given its minimal debt, a healthy population, relatively strong GDP per capita, and widespread healthcare access.
- Debt/GDP ratio 41.4%
- GDP/capita $54,799
- Gini coefficient (out of 100) 34.4
- Infant mortality rate (out of 1,000 live births) 3
- Healthcare access score (out of 100) 89.8
- Hospital beds/1,000 People 27
Government ResponseSelect a data point for more information
(Data points represent policy level as of Jan 1.)
Public Health Directives
Australia has a relatively robust public health policy, driven by very strong contact tracing and travel restrictions, though limited emergency healthcare funds, relaxed stay-at-home policy, and limited testing pull its score down.
- Stay at home order 2
- Public gathering restrictions 4
- School closings 1
- Public event cancellations 2
- Testing policy 3
- Emergency healthcare investments/capita $72.96
- Travel restrictions 3
- Tests/1,000 people 441.6
- Contact tracing 2
Australia’s financial response has been generous, including income support for workers and debt forgiveness, even though its overall stimulus was moderate.
- Financial stimulus as share of GDP 16.8%
- Income support 1
- Debt forebearance 2
Australia’s leadership has maintained regular, fact-based communication with the public.
- Reliance on science/fact based information 0
- Press freedom 0
COVID-19 Status as of Jan 1
Australia has maintained one of the lowest death and case rates in the Index, despite its aging population.
- Total deaths 909
- Death rate per 100K 35.6
- Total cases 28,460
- Cases per 100K 1,116
- Percent of positive tests 0
- Change in positivity rates 0
- A $300 billion emergency stimulus boosts 2021 economic outlook: Australia's economy is expected to emerge from its first recession in three decades sooner than initially projected. Its 2021 GDP growth is now forecast at 4.5 percent, and unemployment is forecast to hit pre-COVID-19 levels of 5.25 percent within four years. Read More
- Australian state reportedly violated human rights in COVID-19 lockdown: Victoria state Ombudsman reported that the Australian government's decision to lockdown 3,000 people in public housing violated their human right to humane treatment. Residents were confined to their apartments for five days to two weeks, and some were denied access to food and medicine. Read More
- Brisbane enters three-day lockdown after first U.K. COVID-19 variant detected: Officials quickly instated lockdown measures after a cleaner in its hotel quarantine system became the first person to knowingly contract the more transmissible U.K. variant. Read More
- Anti-lockdown protester arrested; case numbers lowest in 3 months: Cases are dropping, but authorities arrested an individual for promoting an anti-lockdown protest online. Read More
- Government secures vaccine deal; will provide to citizens for free: The Australian government has secured supply of pending vaccine from AstraZeneca and, if successful, intends to manufacture it locally and provide it for free to its population of 25 million. Read More
- Pre-pandemic preparation: In recent years, the federal government has stepped up its preparation for a health crisis, stockpiling useful medical equipment, and directing money and personnel toward agencies responsible for monitoring infectious diseases and coordinating between state and federal governments, which have not historically worked well in tandem. Read More
- Heeding lessons from H1N1: Learning from its mistakes during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, Australia has focused much of its attention on preventing the spread of coronavirus in Aboriginal communities, which have worked in partnership with the federal government to spread clear public health messages, and implement travel restrictions in indigenous areas. Read More
Compared with Other Asia Pacific Island Nations
Per 1M 3,342
Japan has a strong overall score, driven by its generous financial response and a reliance on facts, although its public health policy is very weak.
Per 1M 22,329
Indonesia scores relatively weakly, a big drop in the past few months, keyed by substantial weakening of travel restrictions, testing policy, and debt relief.
Per 1M 7
Taiwan has a relatively strong policy score, but its minimal stimulus and weak debt relief bring it down. However, the data does not accurately measure its advanced contact tracing, which may have diminished the need for more restrictions; this likely results in a score that underestimates Taiwan’s response.
88.5New Zealand 2,162
Per 1M 25
New Zealand has had very strong policy, particularly with regard to its reliance on science and facts and its relatively strong financial response.
Further Reading From Foreign Policy
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Statistics and government response factors available on each country profile include:
- Debt to GDP ratio
- Infant mortality rates
- Hospital beds per 1,000 people
- Gini coefficients measuring inequality
- Health access and quality
COVID-19 Public Health Directives:
- Stay-at home orders
- School-closing policy
- Public-gathering restrictions
- Cancellation of public events
- Testing policy and rates per 1,000 people
- Emergency healthcare spending per capita
- Travel restrictions
- Contact tracing
COVID-19 Financial Response:
- Stimulus package as a share of GDP
- Income support
- Instances of misinformation by leadership
- Limitations on press freedom, censorship
Current/Historic In-Country COVID-19 Status:
- Death rates per 1 million
- Case rates per 1 million