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The 3 elements that need to happen before lockdown restrictions in Australia can be lifted.

Over the Easter long weekend, millions of Australians cancelled their usual plans to stay home and stop the spread of coronavirus.

As a result of our hard work over the past days and weeks, among other factors, it would appear we are succeeding in ‘flattening the curve’. The growth of coronavirus cases is slowing – there were only 33 new cases of the virus reported overnight – and on paper, 61 Australian lives tragically lost to the virus is a small number in comparison to international death tolls in the thousands.

WATCH: Minister for Health Greg Hunt explains the three elements Australia needs to see before we can relax restrictions below. Post continues after video.

Video via Seven

Amid the daily, even hourly, news updates we receive about COVID-19, it’s natural to cling onto the small pieces of positive news that feel like flickers of light at the end of this horrible tunnel. But as politicians and experts have made very clear, it’s still far too soon to return to some normality in everyday life.

At the time of publishing, Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy says we’re “in a good place”, but not good enough to relax the social distancing restrictions we’ve come to accept as our new normal.

“The thing that worries us most at the moment is complacency. We are in a good place… but we have to maintain that good place,” he told ABC radio on Monday.

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“That is why we have to keep our pressure on and make sure that we don’t end up like countries in the world that you have all seen on the news. Every single community transmission that’s undetected can infect a lot of people, and that’s why it is so important that we do maintain measures for the time being.”

Further to that, Minister for Health Greg Hunt told reporters at a press conference on Monday afternoon the Government is “actively planning” a strategy for when we can relax lockdown restrictions.

“It’s too soon to make changes. We want to work towards an effective eradication of the virus. At the same time, we have also been planning a road out,” he said.

“Now, we have come from the road in, which has been the rapid escalation of measures… we’re currently on the road through and now is the time to consolidate for the next period.”

Hunt went on to outline the three key elements we need to tick off before the Government can pull Australia out of lockdown.

They are: clear data that shows all our COVID-19 numbers are dropping, the capability to respond rapidly to new cases, and a gradual plan to relax restrictions.

“One is clear indication that we are suppressing the case numbers in Australia – it could be case numbers, the re-transmission rate, that’s all being developed into an assessment protocol,” he said.

“Two is ensuring we have rapid response capability – testing, tracing. Thirdly, once those things are achieved, is planning the steps out, which will always be gradual.”

Hunt said Prime Minister Scott Morrison is “deeply engaged” with planning what those gradual steps out of lockdown will look like. One example is bans on international travel, which Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham warned might not be lifted until 2021.

“This is a time where, unfortunately, people can’t undertake holidays and they won’t be able to go overseas for some time to come,” he told ABC News Breakfast on Monday morning.

“There may be a slightly earlier point in time where it becomes feasible to think about domestic travel again. We’re not there yet but certainly this time is a good time for a bit of dreaming, planning, thinking about the Aussie break that you might take when we finally get to the other side of this.”

You can read more about Australia’s coronavirus situation below:

To protect yourself and the community from COVID-19, remain in your home unless strictly necessary, keep at least 1.5 metres away from other people, regularly wash your hands and avoid touching your face. If you are sick and believe you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your GP ahead of time to book an appointment. Or call the national Coronavirus Health Information Line for advice on 1800 020 080. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 000. To keep up to date with the latest information, please visit the Department of Health website.

Feature image: Getty.

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