On Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the National Cabinet will discuss the easing of lockdown restrictions a week earlier than expected, as the country prepares for life after coronavirus.
Australia has thus far successfully flattened the COVID-19 curve and, over the past few days, has consistently recorded less than 20 new cases of the virus every 24 hours.
“Australians deserve an early mark for the work that they have done,” Scott Morrison said on Friday.
“We need to restart our economy, we need to restart our society, we can’t keep Australia under the doona, we need to be able to move ahead.”
The Prime Minister added that 11 requirements — or “precedent conditions” — outlined by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) for easing coronavirus restrictions had been satisfied.
Four, though, still need to be met.
Here are the 11 requirements Australia has met, according to chief medical officer Professor Brendan Murphy and the AHPPC:
- Community adherence to public health measures
- Expansion of testing capacity
- A mature and large enough public health workforce
- Contact tracing capacity
- A well-prepared health system
- Surge capacity in the healthcare system
- ICU-expansion capacity and enough ventilators
- Adequate stock of masks
- Adequate stocks of medications
- Workforce training required to prepare healthcare system
So what is left? There are four more measures Australia must meet before restrictions are lifted.
COVIDSafe downloads must increase.
Scott Morrison stated that increasing the uptake of the COVIDSafe app is essential.
“Of those [four conditions] that remain outstanding, there was one that Australians can do something about, and that is downloading the COVIDSafe app,” Morrison said.
“This is a critical issue for national cabinet when it comes to making decisions next Friday about how restrictions can be eased…
“We need that tool so we can open the economy. So if you haven’t downloaded the app yet, download it. And if you have and you know someone who hasn’t, please encourage them to download it.”
Watch: Prime Minister Scott Morrison on the four conditions still to be met for restrictions to be eased. Post continues below.
So far, more than 3.5 million Australians have registered for the app which uses Bluetooth connections to determine who confirmed cases have come into close contact with. It does not track your location.
Millions more are needed to make the scheme effective.
Strengthening the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Professor Brendan Murphy confirmed Australia has taken significant measures to obtain enough PPE for medical staff, however, there are still some hurdles to jump before this condition to be satisfied.