Australian may see lockdown restrictions eased earlier than expected, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced during a press conference on Friday, 1 May. If all goes well, the regulations could be amended as early as next Friday, 8 May.
“Restrictions are obviously being reviewed in terms of the health mitigations that would need to be in place. But, as well, looking at the economic [aspect],” Morrison said. “We need to restart our economy [and] we need to restart our society.”
He added: “National Cabinet is meeting on Tuesday and on Friday and is largely focussing on that issue so we can work through the options available to us.”
But Morrison would not be drawn on the possible detail of the relaxation. “It’s not just about whether an activity can be reopened – it’s about how it can be reopened,” he explained.
Significant progress in halting the spread of the virus
Authorities are obviously pleased with the progress that it being made to slow the spread of COVID-19 within the country. Western Australia and South Australia, for example, have continued their recent run of days during which no new cases have been registered. Nationally, there are now less than 20 new cases a day.
Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Brendan Murphy, has stated that Australia is doing better than the modelling would have predicted. He said every contact of someone who has COVID-19 will now be tested, as case numbers in Australia reach such a low point that authorities can analyse all cases and clusters to gather extremely detailed information.
Downloading of the tracking app must be increased
Morrison declared during his press briefing that Australians have “earned an early mark” in the fight against the virus.
But he emphasised that an early relaxation was still heavily dependent on how many people downloaded the COVIDSafe tracking app. He added that, while around 3.5-million Australians now had the app, millions more people still needed to sign up.
The prime minister noted that 11 out of 15 conditions set by National Cabinet for easing restrictions had already been met.
“Of those that remain outstanding, there was one that Australians can do something about, and that is downloading the COVIDSafe app,” he said. “This is a critical issue for National Cabinet when it comes to making decisions next Friday about how restrictions can be eased.”
He added that there are currently around 1 000 active coronavirus cases nationwide.