COVID-19 timeline

COVID-19 timeline

COVID-19 and its economic and market impacts evolved at a dizzying pace through the first half of 2020. KangaNews plots the key developments with a focus on those most relevant to Australian and New Zealand debt capital markets.

Pandemic and political developments are listed in orange.

Economic and market developments are listed in purple.

June timeline

Australia’s National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce recommends antiviral drug remdesivir as a treatment – the first medication to gain such a recommendation.

5 June 2020

4 June 2020

Brazil overtakes Italy as country with the third-most deaths from COVID-19.

New Zealand says it will eliminate COVID-19 by 15 June.

No locally transmitted cases in NSW for one week.

Australia records -0.3% GDP growth for March quarter, expected to enter first recession in 29 years in June quarter.

UK death toll passes 50,000.

3 June 2020

2 June 2020

Spain records no daily COVID-19 deaths for the first time since March.

SMBC Sydney prints A$2.4 billion in Australia’s largest credit deal since the onset of the crisis.

NSW increases number of people allowed to gather indoors to 50.

1 June 2020

“We need to go the final distance to end the health emergency. Today we need a final, definitive extension of the state of emergency, which will be lighter.”


“It has been important that every primary deal that has come since the market was reopened in April has performed in the secondary market. This has given investors confidence and there are now very few accounts that have yet to re-engage with primary issuance.”

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May timeline

Victorian state government says people who have been working from home must continue to do so.

29 May 2020

28 May 2020

South Korea tightens restrictions in Seoul after a spike in infections.

“As a country, we will need to turn our minds as to how to move out of this shadow. A reform agenda that makes Australia a great place for businesses to expand, invest, innovate and hire people would certainly help.”


Global deaths pass 350,000. US deaths pass 100,000.

27 May 2020

25 May 2020

Australian active cases fall below 500.

Students of all ages return to full-time school in New South Wales and Queensland.

Australian Treasury reveals A$60 billion overestimation of cost of JobKeeper programme.

Fitch changes outlook on Australia’s AAA sovereign rating to negative.

22 May 2020

“Pressure will come onto Australia’s sovereign rating if we do not see sufficient plans to roll back the stimulus measures that have been implemented. A lot of the programmes are temporary so the rollback should happen naturally to an extent, but some of the stimulus measures will be difficult to take away.”


Global case numbers pass 5 million.

Macquarie prints the first Australian dollar subordinated debt deal since the crisis began: a A$750 million tier-two deal.

21 May 2020

20 May 2020

Largest daily increase in global cases so far, with 106,000 new cases recorded, prompts warning from WHO that pandemic is far from over.

Death toll in Australia reaches 100.

US passes 1.5 million infections and 90,000 deaths.

19 May 2020

18 May 2020

AOFM and ASF update market participants on development of forbearance special-purpose vehicle, designed to provide relief to nonbank and small bank lenders with securitisation trusts affected by forbearance on loans as a result of COVID-19.

Global death toll passes 300,000.

New Zealand government releases budget for 2020/21 financial year with NZ$50 billion stimulus package.

New Zealand Debt Management reveals NZ$60 billion funding requirement for 2020/21 financial year.

14 May 2020

“There are few things now that I would consider to be outside the bounds of possibility. Perhaps it is this same perspective we need as we start our recovery. We have to be focused, we have to be decisive, we have to go into this period know it will be tough, but that there is hope and there is possibility.”


Woolworths prints Australian market’s first corporate deal since COVID-19 crisis began, with A$1 billion dual-tranche deal.

AOFM prints record A$19 billion syndicated transaction.

RBNZ expands LSAP to NZ$60 billion from NZ$33 billion and includes inflation-linked bonds as eligible securities.

13 May 2020

12 May 2020

Russia passes 230,000 infections, becoming the largest outbreak in Europe.

New South Wales records no new cases of COVID-19 in last 24 hours.

Australian federal government discloses three-phase plan to ease restrictions, aiming to work through all three by July.

8 May 2020

“Outbreaks are not a reason to slow things down. Outbreaks are going to happen. All premiers and chief ministers understand that. And so it’s how you respond to them.”


New Zealand announces shape of level two alert, including reopening shops, barbers, bars and cafes, and allowing gatherings of up to 100 people.

Bank of Queensland prints A$750 million in first Australian dollar conditional pass-through covered bond.

7 May 2020

“No-one wants a second wave – no-one.”


Brazil has largest daily increase in death toll, with 663 deaths bringing its total to nearly 8,000.

6 May 2020

5 May 2020

UK death toll passes 30,000 – the largest in Europe.

RBA broadens repo-eligibility of corporate securities to include all with investment-grade-average credit rating to support smooth functioning of corporate market.

“The immediate effectiveness of the broadened criteria in helping secondary market liquidity will depend on banks expanding their appetite for corporate bonds.”


New Zealand records no new cases of COVID-19.

Westpac reports 62 per cent fall in net profits and 70 per cent fall in cash earnings for H1 2020.

4 May 2020

April timeline

ACT reports no active cases – the first Australian territory or state to do so.

Asked whether he has “seen anything at this point that gives you a high degree of confidence that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was the origin of this virus”, US president, Donald Trump, says: “Yes I have.” This contradicts information from the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence and scientific consensus regarding Sars-CoV-2's natural origin.

ANZ defers dividend, announces A$1 billion additional impairment charges and 51 per cent fall in profit.

BNG Bank prices A$500 million in the first widely-distributed new benchmark SSA Kangaroo deal of 2020.

30 April 2020

28 April 2020

Australian federal Treasury reveals 757,000 Australians have been approved for early access to superannuation, totalling A$6.3 billion – after being made available on 20 April.

New Zealand moves to level three restrictions after 34 days at level four.

Westpac announces A$2.2 billion in writedowns.

Westpac economists revise New Zealand official cash rate forecast to -0.5 per cent by November 2020.

“We expect that the RBNZ will signal either its intent or its willingness to move to a negative OCR at the August monetary policy statement.”

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Global cases hit 3 million, US cases hit 1 million.

Australian state premiers flag easing of lockdown restrictions in the weeks to come as the curve flattens.

UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, returns to work.

NAB launches A$3.5 billion equity raising as its first-half, after tax profit falls 51 per cent year-on-year.

27 April 2020

26 April 2020

Australian federal government launches COVID-19 contact tracking app.

Wuhan has no remaining cases of COVID-19 in its hospitals.

Spain allows children under 14 to leave their homes for an hour each day.

Global deaths reach 200,000.

Fewer than 30 cases per day are recorded in Australia for an entire week.

25 April 2020

24 April 2020

“I see the disinfectant, it knocks it out in a minute, one minute and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning, because you see it gets on the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs.”


US death toll reaches 50,000.

23 April 2020

“We have seen strong execution outcomes and an improvement in secondary levels offshore. Coupled with the RBNZ’s policies, domestic investors are currently more confident in the overall market backdrop.”

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US records the highest single-day death toll for any country at more than 2,600.

22 April 2020

21 April 2020

Global cases hit 2.5 million.

Virgin Australia enters voluntary administration.

RBA discloses that around A$3 billion of its term funding facility has been accessed by 35 banks and that it has purchased A$47 billion of ACGBs.

RBA announces plans to scale back purchasing windows to three times a week from five times a week.

“The yield on three-year government bonds has declined and is now around the target level of 25 basis points, after having been around 50 basis points immediately prior to our announcement. Liquidity in the Australian government bond market has also improved substantially and this important market is working much better.”


“The RBA is clear that it is not a backstop bid for government bonds, but also that it will be there if dislocation does re-emerge.”


Singapore records more than 1,400 new cases in a day, almost all linked to dormitories housing foreign workers, as “second wave” fears grow.

Suncorp prints A$750 million five-year covered bond – the first Australian dollar deal from a domestic-domiciled financial institution since COVID-19 crisis escalated.

20 April 2020

“The stability we have seen in the past few weeks will not be there forever. There will not be an orderly, smooth transition back to normal – that is just not going to happen.”

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US cases hit 750,000.

19 April 2020

17 April 2020

Global death toll reaches 150,000, New Zealand death toll reaches 10.

Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities prints NZ$1 billion dual-tranche deal.

“This deal is a game changer for us. We could not afford to have a deal at this time that was not outstanding so we have been working hard to keep our finger on the pulse and the information flowing between ourselves, the intermediaries and investors.”

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Fewer than 100 cases per day are recorded in Australia for an entire week – the first time since 15 March.

16 April 2020

15 April 2020

Global cases hit 2 million.

AOFM prints A$13 billion November 2024 syndicated treasury bond.

US President Donald Trump announces a halt on funding to the WHO while a review is conducted into its handling of the outbreak.

IMF states the global economy as a result of “the great lockdown” is projected to contract sharply, by 3 per cent, in 2020, much worse than during the 2008-9 financial crisis.
“In a baseline scenario, which assumes that the pandemic fades in the second half of 2020 and containment efforts can be gradually unwound, the global economy is projected to grow by 5.8 per cent in 2021 as economic activity normalises, helped by policy support.”

14 April 2020

12 April 2020

UK death toll passes 10,000.

UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, is released from hospital after spending three days in intensive care.

Global cases pass 1.75 million, US death toll passes 20,000.

11 April 2020

10 April 2020

Global death toll passes 100,000, cases in US pass 500,000.

Global death toll passes 90,000.

LGFA prints NZ$1.1 billion April 2026 syndicated transaction.

AOFM’s SFSF investment adds secondary support and considers forbearance fund.

Fed announces it will provide up to US$2.3 trillion in loans to support the economy, including purchases of subinvestment-grade bonds.

9 April 2020

8 April 2020

Global cases pass 1.5 million, Australian cases pass 6,000.

Death toll in Australia passes 50.

China lifts lockdown on Wuhan.

Asian Development Bank estimates global economic impact of COVID-19 at US$2-4 trillion.

Global death toll passes 80,000, cases in US pass 400,000.

S&P lowers outlook on Australia's AAA rating to negative.

Fitch downgrades Australia's big-four banks, to A+.

APRA issues guidance to ADIs and insurers on capital management, seeking to limit discretionary capital distributions in the months ahead, including deferrals or prudent reductions in dividends.

NZDM adds NZ$3.5 billion to its May 2031 line via syndication.

7 April 2020

“We were happy to print a bigger ticket this time than for previous transactions, which naturally comes at a greater cost. We were also mindful that we have a large funding task to complete: issuance is now, more than ever, a repeat game for us.”

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Global death toll passes 70,000, US death toll passes 10,000.

RBNZ announces its intent to purchase LGFA bonds to complement its LSAP programme.

6 April 2020

5 April 2020

Global cases pass 1.25 million, New Zealand passes 1,000.

UK prime minister Boris Johnson admitted to hospital for COVID-19 treatment.

Global death toll passes 60,000, Australia passes 30. US cases pass 300,000.

4 April 2020

3 April 2020

New cases hit 100,000 in a day for the first time.

Global cases pass 1 million, death toll passes 50,000.

Australian federal government announces free childcare for six months.

RBNZ adds term lending facility for banks to its suite of COVID-19 relief measures. Banks also restricted from redeeming non-CET1 capital instruments.

CIBC Sydney Branch prices A$600 million three-year covered bond, reopening the Australian dollar credit market.

TCorp prints A$3.2 billion syndicated, dual-tranche deal. It is the first benchmark deal in the Australian public market since the COVID-19 pandemic escalated. The last deal was the same issuer’s A$1 billion transaction on 27 February.

Moody’s revises outlook on Australian banking system to negative.

2 April 2020

“On the other side of the crisis, the banks will have weaker loan portfolios [while] at some stage needing to rebuild capital positions that have been allowed to slip for the time being.”

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Global cases pass 900,000. Cases in Australia pass 5,000, cases in US pass 200,000 and US death toll passes 5,000.

NZDM increases issuance programme by NZ$12 billion, to NZ$25 billion, due to the additional fiscal impact of COVID-19.

Transurban prices €600 million transaction, becoming the first Australian corporate to enter public debt capital markets since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis.

1 April 2020

March 2020

Global cases pass 800,000, death toll passes 40,000. Australian death toll passes 20, US death toll passes 4,000.

Projections suggest the best-case scenario for deaths in US is 100,000-240,000.

31 March 2020

“A lot of people have said – a lot of people have thought about it. ‘Ride it out. Don’t do anything, just ride it out and think of it as the flu.’ But it’s not the flu. It’s vicious.”


Cases in Australia pass 4,000.

Australian federal government announces A$130 billion wage subsidy programme. Prime minister Scott Morrison says: businesses “may go into hibernation and close down for six months”.

APRA announces deferral of Basel III reforms in Australia by one year, to January 2023 from January 2022.

RBNZ introduces corporate facility, providing additional liquidity to the corporate sector.

30 March 2020

“Our objective is to encourage banks to continue to fund their corporate clients by purchasing their debt securities, given the confidence that these securities can be funded by exchanging them with us for cash.”

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Australian federal government limits social gatherings to two people, places a moratorium on evictions over the next six months for commercial and residential tenancies and announces A$1.1 billion healthcare package.

Global cases hit 700,000, Australia hits 4,000 cases.

29 March 2020

28 March 2020

Global death toll passes 30,000, US death toll passes 2,000. Global cases hit 600,000.

New Zealand cases pass 500, New Zealand records its first COVID-19 death.

Cases in the US pass 100,000. It now leads the world in confirmed COVID-19 cases. Global deaths per day pass 3,000.

Australian federal government announces all international arrivals must undertake mandatory quarantine for 14 days at designated facilities.

UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, diagnosed with COVID-19.

US president, Donald Trump, approves US$2.2 trillion stimulus package.

S&P/ASX 200 gains 7 per cent for the week.

AOFM participates in Firstmac RMBS transaction to kick off its investment programme.

27 March 2020

“Our deal had been in the market for six weeks and we had been in discussions with a number of cornerstone investors for some time. We have strong relationships with our investors and this allowed us to resume the deal process – assisted by the confidence the AOFM brought.”

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Cases in Australia pass 3,000.

Global cases per day pass 60,000 and total global cases hit 500,000.

US Senate agrees on US$2.2 trillion fiscal stimulus package.

After a full week of QE, the RBA’s total asset purchases amount to A$18 billion.

26 March 2020

“I have been avoiding calling it a crisis but I think we certainly can label it as that now. It is a human health crisis overlayed by an economic crisis and it is threatening to turn into something ugly in financial markets as well.”

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“We are now seeing some stabilisation with the Fed throwing the kitchen sink at the US market, and some liquidity is coming back. As an investor, you might not like the price and bid-offer spreads are still large – but a price does exist.”

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Cases in Australia pass 2,000, cases in US pass 50,000.

Global deaths per day pass 2,000. Global cases hit 400,000.

24 March 2020

23 March 2020

US Senate fails for a second time to pass a US$1.8 trillion coronavirus rescue package.

Global cases per day pass 40,000, US deaths hit 500.

New Zealand moves to level three lockdown and flags level four lockdown will come into effect in 48 hours.

Australian federal government passes the Structured Finance Support (Coronavirus Economic Response Package) Act 2020, establishing the Structured Finance Support (Coronavirus Economic Response) Fund.

RBNZ announces NZ$30 billion NZGB buying programme.

Fed announces US QE programme.

“Our plan is simple. We can stop the spread by staying at home and reducing contact. Now is the time to act. Effective immediately, we will move to alert level three nationwide. After 48 hours...we will move to level four.”


“We are not sure how much the RBA will do going forward, or how often, but it has established some credibility with this strong start. It is clearly committed to the 0.25 per cent target at three years and is prepared to step in further out on the curve when markets are volatile and dysfunctional.”

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Australian federal government introduces more widespread restrictions on social gatherings.

Australian federal government announces second stimulus package of A$66.1 billion, bringing the total injected into the economy by all arms of government to A$189 billion.

Cases in New Zealand pass 100.

22 March 2020

21 March 2020

Global cases hit 300,000. Cases in Australia pass 1,000.

Italy’s death toll passes China’s, with 3,405 dead.

Australian federal government postpones annual May budget to 6 October 2020.

IFC issues US$1 billion social bond to support countries affected by COVID-19, the first such issuance in global markets.

RBNZ introduces term funding measures to support short-term liquidity.

S&P/ASX 200 gains 0.5 per cent for the week.

20 March 2020

19 March 2020

Australian federal government closes its borders to all noncitizens and nonresidents.

Global death toll passes 10,000. Global deaths per day pass 1,000.

Cases in US pass 10,000.

Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australia announce suspension of all international flights.

Australian federal government announces A$15 billion programme to support SME lending.

APRA provides temporary relief to banks by relaxing expectations on bank capital ratios.

Fed announces the establishment of temporary US dollar liquidity arrangements with other central banks, including RBA and RBNZ.

RBA cuts the cash rate to 0.25 per cent, announces ACGB buying programme and a A$90 billion term funding facility for the financial system.

“The reserve bank board did not take these decisions lightly. But in the context of extraordinary times and consistent with our broad mandate to promote the economic welfare of the people of Australia, we are seeking to play our full role in building that bridge to the time when the recovery takes place.”

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Australian federal government no longer permits nonessential indoor gatherings of more than 100 people.

New global cases per day pass 20,000.

Fed broadens programme of support for the flow of credit to households and businesses by establishing a Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility.

RBNZ defers standard terms for residential mortgage obligations and other regulatory initiatives.

18 March 2020

“In such uncertain times, it is important that firms have as much capacity as possible to deal with critical problems as they arise. So it makes sense for regulators to free up financial institutions to focus on matters such as helping customers through financial or other stress, or increasing their degree of monitoring and managing their own most urgent risks.”

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New Zealand government announces NZ$12.1 billion fiscal stimulus package – equivalent to 4 per cent of its GDP. Grant Robertson, finance minister, says the package “is one of the largest in the world on a per capita basis”.

Cases from outside China surpass those in China.

Italy reports 475 COVID-19 deaths, the highest single-day death toll for any country since the outbreak began.

Fed announces a commercial paper funding facility and a primary dealer credit facility to support the flow of credit to households and businesses.Fed announces a commercial paper funding facility and a primary dealer credit facility to support the flow of credit to households and businesses.

17 March 2020

16 March 2020

Infections and deaths outside China exceed Chinese total for the first time.

International arrivals to Australia required to self-isolate for 14 days.

RBNZ cuts OCR by 75 basis points to 0.25 per cent and delays implementation of new capital standards for banks by 12 months.

Statement by the Council of Financial Regulators assuring the market that Australian policymakers and regulators are working together closely.

RBA says it may buy government bonds in the secondary market.

S&P/ASX 200 falls 9.7 per cent in a day.

S&P 500 falls 12 per cent, its largest daily drop since the Great Depression.

“If you’re talking about the virus, no, that’s not under control for any place in the world.”


“We will watch to see how the government’s fiscal package works, as well as how the COVID-19 crisis unfolds… If there is a significant increase in domestic cases, this will change the situation.”


“The reserve bank stands ready to purchase Australian government bonds in the secondary market to support the smooth functioning of that market, which is a key pricing benchmark for the Australian financial system.”


Death toll in Australia hits five.

New Zealand government announces that its borders will close to all noncitizens and nonresidents on 19 March.

Fed funds rate cut to 0-25 basis points band and Fed announces at least US$700 billion of bond purchases across US Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities, as well as actions to support the flow of credit to households and businesses.

15 March 2020

“This is a very contagious virus. It’s incredible. But it’s something that we have tremendous control over.”


Spain enters full lockdown.

14 March 2020

13 March 2020

Australian federal government advises against nonessential, organised public gatherings of more than 500 people, starting 15 March.

US president, Donald Trump, declares a national emergency.

Australian minister for home affairs, Peter Dutton, diagnosed with COVID-19.

S&P/ASX 200 falls 13.1 per cent for the week.

S&P 500 rises 9.3 per cent for the day.

“Fitch expects hardship applications to increase in Australian RMBS, especially from self-employed or contractor borrowers, those who work for SMEs and those in sectors the COVID-19 outbreak more directly affects, such as travel, tourism and hospitality.”

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“Well, I do still plan to go to the football on Saturday as I said, because this is an arrangement we’re putting in place for next week as a precaution. This is an early-stage action that we’re undertaking to make sure we get ahead of this. And I would be going along on Saturday because I had previously planned to.”


Australian federal government announces stimulus package of A$17.6 billion.

S&P 500 falls 9.5 per cent on the day.

12 March 2020

11 March 2020

WHO classifies COVID-19 as a pandemic.

Australian federal government announces A$2.4 billion health plan to fight COVID-19.

Cases in US pass 1,000.

RBNZ launches its principles on using unconventional monetary policy.

“We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus. This is the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus. And we have never before seen a pandemic that can be controlled.”


“Lower interest rates will provide more disposable income to the household sector and those businesses with debt. They may not spend it straight away, but it brings forward the day when they will be comfortable with their balance sheets and resume a normal pattern of spending.”

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RBNZ launches its principles on using unconventional monetary policy.

10 March 2020

11 March 2020

S&P/ASX 200 falls 7.4 per cent on the day.

S&P 500 falls 7.6 per cent on the day.

“So last year, 37,000 Americans died from the common flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life and the economy go on. At this moment, there are 546 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!”


Italy places all citizens under lockdown.

Saudi Arabia begins oil price war after the collapse of a deal with Russia.

8 March 2020

6 March 2020

Australian federal government commits to 50-50 shared health funding deal with the states and territories to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak.

New global cases per day pass 20,000.

S&P/ASX 200 falls 10.9 per cent for the week.

Foreign nationals entering from South Korea will not be allowed to enter Australia.

5 March 2020

3 March 2020

RBA cuts cash rate to 0.50 per cent from 0.75 per cent.

“The global outbreak of the coronavirus is expected to delay progress in Australia towards full employment and the inflation target. The [RBA] board therefore judged that it was appropriate to ease monetary policy further to provide additional support to employment and economic activity.”


New Zealand records its first COVID-19 case.

2 March 2020

1 March 2020

Foreign nationals entering from Iran banned from entering Australia. A Perth man rescued from the Diamond Princess cruise ship becomes Australia’s first fatality.

February 2020

US records its first COVID-19 death.

29 February 2020

28 February 2020

Columbus Capital prints A$1 billion RMBS transaction.

“Despite our concerns about increased market volatility and where spreads might be heading, we decided to continue with the transaction. The decision was correct because, during that week, pricing moved out on one tranche.”

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28 February 2020

“It’s going to disappear. One day – it’s like a miracle – it will disappear.”


26 February 2020

“It’s a little like the regular flu that we have flu shots for. And we’ll essentially have a flu shot for this in a fairly quick manner.”


WHO expresses concern about COVID-19 spread in Iran, which reports 18 new cases and four deaths in two days.

21 February 2020

20 February 2020

ASX 200 reaches its highest mark ever, at 7,162 points.

S&P 500 reaches all-time record high.

19 February 2020

11 February 2020

Global death toll passes 1,000.

WHO renames novel coronavirus disease COVID-19.

“Having a name matters to prevent the use of other names that can be inaccurate or stigmatising. It also gives us a standard format to use for any future coronavirus outbreaks.”


Death toll in China surpasses that of the 2002-3 SARS outbreak, with 811 fatalities recorded.

9 February 2020

7 February 2020

Chinese whistleblower, Li Wenliang, dies.

Date of possible first COVID-19 death in the US (confirmed in April), suggesting community transmission began as early as mid-January.

6 February 2020

11 February 2020

Global death toll passes 1,000.

WHO renames novel coronavirus disease COVID-19.

RBA keeps the cash rate on hold at 0.75 per cent.

4 February 2020

“Global growth is expected to be a little stronger this year and next than it was last year and inflation remains low almost everywhere. One continuing source of uncertainty, despite recent progress, is the trade and technology dispute between the US and China, which has affected international trade flows and investment. Another source of uncertainty is the coronavirus, which is having a significant effect on the Chinese economy at present. It is too early to determine how long-lasting the impact will be.”


More than 200 Australians evacuated on Qantas flight from Wuhan to be quarantined on Christmas Island for 14 days.

3 February 2020

2 February 2020

First COVID-19 death outside of China is recorded, in the Philippines.

Australia announces a 14-day quarantine period for non-Australian citizens arriving from China.

1 February 2020

December 2019 – January 2020

WHO declares outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern”.

30 January 2020

“The main reason for this declaration is not because of what is happening in China, but because of what is happening in other countries. Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems, which are ill-prepared to deal with it.”


Australia records its first case of novel coronavirus.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade raises Wuhan alert level to “do not travel”.

25 January 2020

23 January 2020

Singapore announces first imported case.

Wuhan is placed under quarantine.

“The emergency committee was divided over whether the outbreak of novel coronavirus represents a PHEIC [public health emergency of international concern] or not. Make no mistake. This is an emergency in China, but it has not yet become a global health emergency. It may yet become one.”


First case of novel coronavirus outside China recorded, in Thailand.

13 January 2020

11 January 2020

China records its first death from novel coronavirus.

WHO issues its first guidance on the novel coronavirus.

10 January 2020

8 January 2020

World Bank expects global growth to rise 2.5 per cent in 2020, a small uptick from 2.4 per cent in 2019.

WHO reports on pneumonia of unknown cause in China.

5 January 2020

4 January 2020

WHO responds to a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan.

Pneumonia of unknown cause in Wuhan, Hubei, reported to World Health Organization China Office.

31 December 2019