Launch of our national respiratory surveillance plan and report

We have recently published our first national surveillance plan and fortnightly surveillance report for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

Date published:

On 17 April 2024, we published our first Australian Respiratory Surveillance Report (ARSR) and the first version of our Australian National Surveillance Plan for COVID-19, Influenza and RSV. 

The Australian Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has changed from an emergency response to routine management, consistent with other common communicable diseases. This means we can integrate and streamline our national surveillance and reporting of nationally notifiable acute viral respiratory diseases. Specifically, these include:  

  • COVID-19 
  • influenza 
  • RSV. 

Our surveillance plan is a national framework for the collection, analysis, and reporting of health-related data for these diseases. The plan aims to inform:  

  • public health decision making  
  • and national policy responses to these viral respiratory infections in Australia. 

The Australian Respiratory Surveillance Report (ARSR) covers the surveillance indicators in the plan. It draws information from multiple surveillance systems to provide a national overview of: 

  • the distribution of acute viral respiratory illness activity in the community 
  • the severity of disease 
  • which populations may be most at risk for severe disease 
  • the impact of acute viral respiratory illness activity on the health system and broader community in Australia. 

Initially, we will publish the ARSR fortnightly. It will replace both the:  

  • COVID-19 Australia: Epidemiology Report
  • Australian Influenza Surveillance Report. 

The plan and its related reports are living documents. We will adjust and update them in line with: 

  • changes to the characteristics of these viruses and their epidemiology 
  • new technologies and approaches for disease control and surveillance 
  • Australia’s policy responses. 

The interim Australian CDC was launched on 1 January 2024. Our aim is to enhance Australia’s national health emergency planning and preparedness. Improving national public health surveillance systems is one of our initial focus areas. Releasing these key documents highlights our leadership in national disease surveillance efforts.  

Visit the Department of Health and Aged Care website to learn more and read the first report