'Bold' easing of restrictions coming

 

Australia's chief medical officer Brendan Murphy announced yesterday that it may be time to ease coronavirus restrictions in stages, in a move he dubbed "bold".

But there's a catch - he wants physical distancing to be maintained.

A National Cabinet to be held this Friday will assess whether it's plausible to begin easing some coronavirus restrictions.

Professor Murphy encouraged Australians to continue downloading the COVIDSafe coronavirus tracing app, as it would give leaders the ability to be more "bold" in easing restrictions.

 

Brendan Murphy has said a “bold” easing of restrictions might soon be underway. Picture: Rohan Thomson/Getty Images
Brendan Murphy has said a “bold” easing of restrictions might soon be underway. Picture: Rohan Thomson/Getty Images

The COVIDSafe App will play a large part in determining when and how restrictions will be eased, according to Professor Murphy.

So far, about a quarter of adults with a smartphone have downloaded the COVIDSafe App.

Professor Murphy wants that number to be higher before Australia starts staggering the easing of coronavirus-imposed restrictions.

 

Millions of Aussies have downloaded the app. But millions more need to get on board before restrictions will be lifted.
Millions of Aussies have downloaded the app. But millions more need to get on board before restrictions will be lifted.

"The more we have signed up, the more confidence I'll be able to give the National Cabinet that they can make a decision [on restrictions]," Professor Murphy said.

"The more confidence they can have, the more bold they might be."

A previous National Cabinet meeting decided Australia would need to pass three tests before restrictions could be eased.

Those conditions include greater testing for the virus, greater contact tracing and the ability for the healthcare sector to contain a surge in cases.

HOW RESTRICTIONS WILL BE EASED

Professor Murphy gave a detailed plan on how restrictions will be eased, explaining Australia would take a staggered approach.

"This virus is still in our community, it's still with us, we are … in a much better position than just about any other country in the world, but we have to be careful as we chart the next couple of months," Professor Murphy said.

Brendan Murphy doesn’t want Australia to experience a second wave like Singapore and China. Picture: Rohan Thomson/Getty Images
Brendan Murphy doesn’t want Australia to experience a second wave like Singapore and China. Picture: Rohan Thomson/Getty Images

Restrictions will most likely be eased in stages, to avoid the second wave of infections other countries have experienced because they eased the rules too quickly.

He said each stage would be reviewed for a number of weeks before a decision was made on whether to relax lockdown measures further.

The ultimate aim is to the reopen gyms, entertainment facilities and dining in at cafes and restaurants.

The reopening of university campuses will also be considered.

However, he emphasised that social distancing would have to be maintained for some time after other restrictions were lifted.

Originally published as 'Bold' easing of restrictions coming


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