On 12 January, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that a novel coronavirus was the cause of a respiratory illness in a cluster of people in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, who had initially come to the attention of the WHO on 31 December 2019.
On 3 March, the Reserve Bank of Australia became the first central bank to cut interest rates in response to the outbreak. Official interest rates were cut by 0.25% (25 base points) to a record low of 0.5%.
On 12 March, the Federal Government announced a A$17.6 billion stimulus package, the first since the 2008 GFC. he package consists of multiple parts, a one-off A$750 payment to around 6.5 million welfare recipients as early as 31 March 2020, small business assistance with 700,000 grants up to $25,000 and a 50% wage subsidy for 120,000 apprenticies or trainees for up to 9 months, 1 billion to support economically impacted sectors, regions and communities, and $700 million to increase tax write off and $3.2 billion to support short-term small and medium-sized business investment.
On 16 March, Premier Dan Andrews and Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos declared a state of emergency for Victoria for at least four weeks.
On 19 March, the Reserve Bank again cut interest rates by a further 0.25% to 0.25%, the lowest in Australian history.
On 22 March, the government announced a second stimulus package of A$66bn, increasing the amount of total financial package offered to A$89bn. This included several new measures like doubling income support for individuals on Jobseeker's allowance, granting A$100,000 to small and medium-sized businesses and A$715 million to Australian airports and airlines. It also allowed individuals affected by the outbreak to access up to A$10,000 of their superannuation during 2019–2020 and also being able to take an additional same amount for the next year. on the same day Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced on 22 March that the state will bring the school holiday forwards to 24 March from 27 March.
On 30 March, the Australian Federal Government announced a $130 billion "JobKeeper" wage subsidy program offering to pay employers up to $1500 a fortnight per full-time, part-time or casual employee that has worked for that business for over a year. For a business to be eligible, they must have lost 30% of turnover after 1 March of annual revenue up to and including $1 billion. For businesses with a revenue of over $1 billion, turnover must have decreased by 50%. Businesses are then required by law to pay the subsidy to their staff, in lieu of their usual wages. This response came after the enormous job losses seen just a week prior when an estimated 1 million Australians lost their jobs. This massive loss in jobs caused the myGov website to crash and lines out of Centrelink offices to run hundreds of metres long.The program was backdated to 1 March, to aim at reemploying the many people who had just lost their jobs in the weeks before. Businesses would receive the JobKeeper subsidy for six months.
* On 12 April 2020 Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews Extended the State of Emergency until midnight on May 11. On this day the world has 1,604,900 cases of coronavirus, with 95,738 deaths.
America has 468,887 cases of covid19, with 1,900 Americans dying in the last 24 hours.
The UK has 65,077 cases. 881 people died in the last 24 hours.
Australia has 6,292 cases. 58 people have died to date.
Colour photographs of Ballarat's usually very busy Eyre Street during Covid-19 Social Isoliation. The photographs were taken at 4.00pm.