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Australia’s COVID-19 success story

Australia has been described as the model for its effective response to COVID-19. Early and decisive action has saved lives and protected the economy.

Bloomberg rates Australia 3rd in the world in its Covid Resilience Ranking for May 2021.

The monthly ranking uses a range of data to capture where the pandemic is being handled most effectively, with the least social and economic disruption – from mortality and testing rates to vaccine access and freedom of movement. 

Australia scores 79.1 in the Bloomberg resilience score. 3rd in the world


In 2021 Australians are showing the world the new normal. Consumer confidence is high as employment levels surpass pre-COVID levels. Businesses have long been back to work and people are again enjoying the theatre, restaurants, cafes, beaches and parks.

‘Australia has not only seen an impressive health response, strong economic outcomes and the resilience that our balance sheets provide, but Australian businesses have access to cheap and easy credit and buoyant capital markets. Australia is in a great position to recover quickly and outperform global peers, not just in the short term but for years to come.’

Source: EY Global COVID-19 Economic Index

Our swift and substantial response has been hailed by the IMF and OECD. Despite the challenges of 2020, Australia performed very well, building on the strong foundation of a AAA credit rating, and a strong, flexible economy.

‘Australia’s response has been characterised by effective actions, policies, and leadership practices – implemented through strong collaboration between the public and private sectors. Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic to date offers valuable, actionable insights for decision makers elsewhere in the world.’

Source: McKinsey and Co 15 December 2020

Consumer confidence and optimism are high. Australians understand they live in a lucky country according to the NAB Life in the Lucky Country Report, Feb 2021. And Australia ranks second of 14 for confidence in how their country has managed the pandemic, according to Pew Research. 94% of people thought Australia had done a good job, well above the median of 73%.

Percentage of people who say their country has done a good job managing the pandemic

94% of people thought Australia had done a good job managing the pandemic

Source: Pew Research August 2020

Bloomberg says Australia shows the world what post-virus recovery may look like: ‘Australia and New Zealand’s success in suppressing Covid-19 – outside isolated flare-ups – has sparked a snap-back in household and business sentiment, spurring activity and hiring and laying the ground for a sustained recovery.’

In 2020, the Lowy Institute ranked Australia as the top performing OECD country (with Iceland) for our performance in managing the pandemic.

Australia is safe, resilient and capable in a crisis. Bloomberg Businessweek recognised this in 2019, rating us #2 in our capability to withstand or benefit from disruptive forces and #5 for traditional economic drivers. Australia’s performance during the pandemic has reinforced this.

A swift and substantial response

'What Australia has done is the proof of the pudding. It’s clear that countries and states that do not embrace restrictions do not blunt the curve as well as those that do. The epitome of that has been the success of Australia'

– Dr Anthony Fauci, Director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Busy Melbourne cafes

Our health response has focused on minimising spread and mortality, protecting people and managing demand on our health system. We have a low rate of cases per capita. In March 2021 it stood at just 114 per 100K of population.

While most countries had more deaths in 2020 compared to previous years, we are one of only 14 countries that had fewer.

Emerging from COVID faster and stronger

‘Australia’s performance on both the health and the economic front is world-leading, with our economy outperforming all major advanced economies in 2020 and as the OECD points out ... our level of economic growth is closing in on our pre-pandemic level’ – Josh Frydenberg, Australian Treasurer.

While most developed economies saw their GDP drop by 3–12% over the first three quarters of 2020, Australia’s dropped by just 2.9% over the same period.

Now we’re seeing a strong recovery. The International Monetary Fund forecasts that Australian GDP will increase by 1.6% per year for the next five years. On current projections, this means we’ll outpace most comparable economies, including Europe, the UK and the US.

And we have a powerful economic blueprint to propel our economic trajectory. The Australian Government has a multi-pronged strategy to grow the economy with major investment in advanced manufacturing, digital transformation and research and development in a number of sectors.

The strategy is underpinned by the JobMaker Plan which is focused on generating quality jobs for Australians and boosting our national resilience by filling gaps in critical supply chains.

We’re also making it easier to do business through tax concessions and business incentives.

Australia made a plan to protect our First Peoples and it worked. A community-led response, with information in local languages has been key to this success. There have been no cases in remote communities, and no Indigenous deaths across the country.

Case studies

Australian medical innovation at the forefront of containing COVID-19

EllumeHealth in Brisbane is supplying global markets with millions of its at-home, over-the-counter COVID-19 tests.

CSL in Melbourne is manufacturing approximately 50 million doses of the Astra Zeneca-Oxford vaccine.

Australia has also pledged A$80m to the UN-backed Covax initiative to help vaccinate 20 per cent of the population of Southeast Asia and the Pacific. The scheme will provide 588,000 vaccines for PNG.

See for the latest official coronavirus news, updates and advice from the Australian Government.