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Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

For the latest COVID-19 information go to
or call the Tasmanian Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.

A pandemic is an epidemic of infectious disease that spreads through human populations across a large region; for example, over multiple continents, or even worldwide.

Throughout history there have been a number of pandemics, such as tuberculosis, cholera , HIV infection and more recently COVID-19.

Influenza virus is the best known example of a germ that periodically mutates enough to present a substantially different strain to the population. When this happens, the new strain may spread widely through populations as a pandemic.

The public health responses to pandemics are complex, and involve international agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO), national agencies such as the Australian Department of Health, and in Tasmania, the Tasmanian Government’s Department of Health. Many other government and community bodies also contribute to managing the effects of a pandemic on the population.

In the event of a pandemic, Tasmania's Public Health Services within the Department of Health lead the planning and response and TasALERT will provide access to extensive information and guidance for the public and organisations.