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Prime Minister Morrison outlines plans for lifting of Coronavirus restrictions

Prime Minister Morrison outlines plans for lifting of Coronavirus restrictions
April 17, 2020

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has advised that the nation needs a more comprehensive Coronavirus testing regime before current health restrictions can be lifted.

Speaking yesterday at Parliament House in Canberra, Prime Minister Morrison suggested that such a regime may take at least another four weeks, adding that social distancing and hand washing will remain the “new normal”.

With Australia this week showing strong signs that measures taken to containing the Coronavirus pandemic have been effective, Prime Minister Morrison stated “we want to be very clear with Australians, baseline restrictions we have in place at the moment there are no plans to change those for the next four weeks.”

Addressing media following a National Cabinet meeting yesterday, Prime Minister Morrison explained that extending testing beyond those who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 was a key factor in what he called “the road out” of current shutdowns.

Prime Minister Morrison stated "we need an even broader testing regime than we have at this point.

“We have one of, if not the most, extensive testing regimes in the world today.

“But we need to do even better than that to make sure that we can have greater confidence that when we move to a less restrictive environment we can have confidence we can identify any outbreaks very very quickly and respond to them.”

Advising that greater tracing capabilities also needed to be implemented, to track the virus’ spread, Prime Minister Morrison added "we need to lift (tracing) to an industrial capability using technology and we need to do that as soon as we possibly can.

“If we can get that in place get the tracing capability up from where it is that will give us more options and Australians more freedoms.”

The third criteria identified by Prime Minister Morrison was response capability at a local level, in the way the north-west of Tasmania has handled its outbreak, with assistance from the Australian Defence Force.

The National Cabinet agreed on Thursday to use the next four weeks to ensure these three goals were met.

Releasing new University of Melbourne modelling, Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Brendan Murphy, said the numbers were looking “very encouraging”, but cautioned "if we relax the distancing measures that are stopping or reducing that community transmission, that will inevitably lead to some more outbreaks of community transmission."

There are now almost 6,500 cases of COVID-19 in Australia and there have been 63 deaths.

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