SEMP Viral (Respiratory) Pandemic Sub-Plan


The State Emergency Management Plan (SEMP) Viral (Respiratory) Pandemic Sub-Plan (the plan) outlines the arrangements for managing the consequences of pandemics caused by respiratory viruses in Victoria. This plan is activated in conjunction with the arrangements set out in the SEMP Health Emergencies Sub-Plan (HESP).

The response arrangements in this plan are activated upon advice from the Chief Health Officer (CHO) or the appointment of the State Controller – Health by the Control Agency Officer in Charge (Secretary, Department of Health).

A pandemic is the worldwide spread of a new disease.  For this plan, the new disease comes from a novel respiratory virus. The type of virus may be new to science or previously unidentified in humans. A novel virus transmits via the respiratory system and typically results in respiratory illness.

Every Victorian Government department and agency may have a plan in place to address the consequences of a pandemic on their organisation and service delivery obligations, and their responsibilities.

As the control agency for human disease, the Victorian Department of Health (DH) is responsible for the maintenance and communication of this plan which incorporates feedback from external consultation required under the Emergency Management Act 2013.  This includes a broad range of Victorian emergency services and related agencies.

Further information regarding emergency management arrangements for other emergencies with potential health risks can be found in the corresponding SEMP Sub-Plans.

This plan supersedes the Victorian action plan for pandemic influenza (2015).


This plan provides strategic information about Victoria’s mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery arrangements for viral respiratory pandemics. It:

  • outlines the legal framework for managing a pandemic at a national and state level
  • describes the pandemic response, including roles and responsibilities
  • highlights effective measures for managing a pandemic to build and support community resilience
  • addresses resourcing, staff safety and wellbeing in managing the pandemic
  • highlights potential consequences to various sectors from the pandemic
  • outlines the return to business as usual, or an evolved business as usual, as the pandemic transitions into seasonal activity
  • strengthens accountability for managing and mitigating risks associated with health emergencies
  • outlines how community will be provided with information, guidance, and advice of viral respiratory pandemics.


The audience for this plan comprises Victorian Government and agencies, bodies, departments, and other organisations within the Victorian health sector that have roles and responsibilities in the management of a viral (respiratory) pandemic.

Given the dynamic and interdependent nature of the Victorian health system, it is vital that all relevant entities follow this plan to ensure the coordinated and effective management of a viral (respiratory) pandemic health emergency.
Community sectors, community service organisations, and individuals may also find the contents of this plan informative.

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