Fewer Australians taking COVID-19 precautions

Media Release

More Australians reported household members returning positive COVID-19 tests in April, but fewer reported taking precautions against the spread of COVID-19, according to survey results released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

ABS Head of Household Surveys, David Zago, said: “Our latest Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey, conducted between 19 and 28 April 2022, showed 62 per cent of households had a COVID-19 test in the past four weeks, up from 46 per cent in March 2022.”

Of those households where someone had a COVID-19 test, 23 per cent reported one or more household members had tested positive in April, up from 14 per cent in March.

“However, only 78 per cent of Australians in April reported wearing a face mask in the previous week, down from 98 per cent in February.

“In April, Australians were also less likely in the week before the survey was conducted to have taken precautions by washing their hands or using hand sanitiser regularly (92 per cent down from 95 per cent in February), and physically distancing themselves from other people (75 per cent down from 85 per cent),” said Mr Zago.

The results, released as part of a suite of ABS products to measure the impacts of COVID-19 on households from 2020 to 2022, also provide insight into social activities and working from home arrangements of people compared with before COVID-19 restrictions were introduced in Australia. 

“Almost twice as many employed Australians worked from home one or more times a week in April compared to before COVID-19 restrictions were introduced in March 2020 (46 per cent up from 24 per cent). Meanwhile, fewer Australians exercised at a gym or played sport in April compared to March 2020 (29 per cent down from 38 per cent).”

Australians in April were also less likely to attended social gatherings one or more times a week than before restrictions were introduced (20 per cent down from 27 per cent).

The ABS would like to thank the Australian households that contributed to results for the duration of this survey.

Media notes

  • COVID-19 tests refer to both Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests.
  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team via media@abs.gov.au (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri).
  • Subscribe to our media release notification service to get notified of ABS media releases or publications upon their release.
  • Information on ABS products being produced to measure the impact of COVID-19 on Australia can be found on the ABS website.
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