Novel Coronavirus, COVID-19
The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, a public emergency in late January 2020 and this status quickly escalated to an announcement of a global pandemic as outbreaks were detected in multiple countries outside the source in China. Australia has strong tourism and trade links with China so it came as little surprise when the first cases of COVID-19 were detected in Australia in late January 2020.
The Australian Response
It is widely agreed that the Australian government reacted quickly to coronavirus with a bold move to close the borders first to travellers from China and then to all others. These measures were quickly escalated as the source of new cases was identified and 14 day self-isolation for all people entering from an overseas destination became mandatory. With the decline in visitation from China, the tourism and aviation sectors were the first to falter and as the true nature of the virus spread was realised, the domino effect through Australian business became a grim reality.
With massive queues outside Centrelink offices, the Australian government reacted swiftly to the rapidly unfolding economic crisis with unprecedented stimulus measures.
Stimulus packages were rolled out to assist a range of individuals and were scaled up on a seemingly daily basis, which included significant changes to Jobseeker and other measures.
The support to business, especially SMEs was quick to flow and just as quickly scaled up to the unbelievably large $113b JobKeeper package which was passed by Parliament on 8 April 2020.
With Prime Minister Scott Morrison forming a National Cabinet of state and territory leaders to develop a cohesive response, each state and territory rolled out their own set of relief and support packages.
The Global Response
From China, the coronavirus spread to new epicentres in Italy, Spain, US and UK especially. While daily updates on number of new cases and death tolls from all countries rolled across the newscasts on an hourly basis, each country implemented economic measures specific to their needs and capabilities.
Volatile Share Market
Like a tsunami, the fallout from coronavirus pandemic, exacerbated by the Saudi-Russian oil price issue, rolled through global stock markets with red covering boards across the world. The markets reacted as stimulus and support measures were announced and the situation can only be described as volatile. But as of the second week in April, small gains were being seen.
Documenting a Financial Crisis
With many people still getting their heads around dealing with a health crisis and wondering ‘what just happened to my life’, we try to simplify the timeline on how a virus in China could become a global financial crisis and how other factors are a consideration.