Prime Minister Scott Morrison (File pic)
Prime Minister Scott Morrison (File pic)

Australia to keep coronavirus restrictions for 4 more weeks despite recovery

ANI | Updated: Apr 16, 2020 15:23 IST

Sydney [Australia], April 16 (ANI): Restrictions aimed at halting the spread of the coronavirus could be eased next month, prime minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday, preparing to develop new policies to "super-charge" the Australian economy to drive down unemployment and fix the federal budget.
The prime minister said that national cabinet will use the next four weeks to ensure the nation's health authorities are well placed to respond to a potential second wave of the virus before relaxing some of the protective measures that have closed down much of the economy, Sydney Morning Herald reported.
The three conditions to begin rolling back measures include increased testing, the elevation of tracing of cases to an "industrial" level and having strong local response capabilities that would enable any hotspots to be locked down, Morrison added further.
The government has planned to likely ease restrictions on high value and low-risk sectors affected by recent lockdown while keeping social distancing measures in place.
During a phone call with state premiers and chief ministers, Morrison noted that the Australian life would not be returning to normal overnight but said that it is going to be step by step, "there is going to be trial and error, it is completely uncharted territory ... no country in the world has worked this out yet."
Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe and Treasury secretary Steven Kennedy both addressed the national cabinet, outlining the economic challenges facing the country in the wake of the pandemic.
The national COVID-19 economic taskforce boss Nev Power is expected to offer suggestions to boost the economy through new policies, including national building infrastructure and industrial relations reform.
However, Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said Australia "cannot afford to do relaxation" of social restrictions until the public health system was bolstered, with new modelling of Australia's COVID-19 spread showing containment.
He said more than half of Australia's 6457 confirmed COVID-19 cases had now recovered but warned 42 patients remained in hospital on ventilators, on top of the 63 deaths across the nation. (ANI)