Australia’s coronavirus lockdown will be eased back in the coming days, prime minister Scott Morrison has confirmed.
In a QnA with news.com.au, the prime minister said changes to the restrictions currently in place will be announced on Friday. The announcement will follow a meeting of the special cabinet with the state premiers.
Social distancing rules have been imposed across Australia to reduce and suppress the spread of the coronavirus which causes COVID-19. While not specifying what the rule changes would be, he did flag that they would be part of a gradual process of relaxation.
“They’re not all going to happen at once. I don’t want to prejudge any of those decisions that the Premiers will make on Friday,” he said.
However, according to a report on 7 News, at the Friday meeting Mr Morrison will push for family gatherings of up to 10 people to be allowed.
In the QnA, the prime minister said Australia would not be able to fully return to normal until a vaccine against the novel coronavirus was available, adding: “but we want to get as close as we possibly can”.
He also warned that further COVID-19 cases would emerge as people go back to work when restrictions are lifted. But he insisted the coronavirus lockdown relaxations were now possible in Australia due to systems that have been put in place to contain further outbreaks.
“Now that we’ve got these protections in place, that means that we can operate at a much higher level than we had before,” he told News.com.au.
Mr Morrison spent some time with the QnA discussing getting schools back to capacity. The degree to which schools have been open during the course of Australia’s coronavirus lockdown has varied from state to state, and the prime minister admitted there had been some confusion. He also said online learning was not the optimum experience for children. He says he is glad, though, his own children would be returning to school 5-days a week from next week.
Earlier this week, the prime minister said the federal government’s focus in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic was shifting. Getting a million people back to work was now “the curve we need to address,” he said
At 3pm on Wednesday, Australia had recorded a total of 6,875 cases of COVID-19, with 97 deaths, according to the Department of Health. Recent cases have been dominated by an outbreak at a Victorian meatworks. Deaths have also mounted at a nursing home in Sydney.