Coronavirus restrictions will be in place for at least four more weeks as Australia continues to reduce the infection rate, Scott Morrison announced today after a National Cabinet meeting.
Wider testing, more rigorous contact tracing involving an app and plans for local lockdowns to combat outbreaks need to be in place before so-called ‘baseline restrictions’ can be removed across the nation, he said.
But Australia’s biggest states will be able to relax some of their harsher restrictions sooner if they chose to do so.
‘States and territories that went further than those baselines… will be reviewing those in the meantime,’ Mr Morrison said.
NSW Police ask people to move on while patrolling during the Easter Long Weekend at Bondi Beach in Sydney
It means that pubs, restaurants and gyms will be kept shut, large gatherings will remain banned and working from home will be encouraged where possible.
Weddings are still limited to five people and funerals to ten people.
However, elective surgery could be resumed on Tuesday when the National Cabinet meets again.
There were only 19 new cases of coronavirus in Australia on Wednesday, taking the national total to 6,468. The crisis peaked at 460 daily cases on 28 March.
Mr Morrison warned that lifting restrictions too fast could be catastrophic.
‘If you ease off too quickly too early, then you end up making the situation even worse and I don’t just mean in the health terms,’ he said.
‘If you move too early and 700-765 Dumps4Success the health response gets out of control then the economic consequences will be even worse. We need to keep it finely balanced.’
The Prime Minister said over the next four weeks the government will work on measures to make it safe for restrictions to be lifted.
A police officer refrains a woman from swimming on Bondi Beach in Sydney
Testing – possibly including random community testing – is crucial to tracking the spread of the virus.
So far only certain ‘hotspot’ suburbs have made testing available to everyone due to a shortage of testing equipment including chemicals – but the government wants to expand the testing regime.
Secondly, contact tracing is crucial to stopping further outbreaks.
The government is working on an app that can tell people if they have come into contact with someone with the virus – but there are ‘privacy concerns’ to work through before it can be rolled out.
It will be similar to the trace app rolled out in Singapore, Mr Morrison said.