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No plans to reduce restrictions for 4 weeks: The key points from Scott Morrison's press conference.

On Thursday afternoon, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was joined by Chief Medical Officer Dr Brendan Murphy to give an update on the current state of COVID-19 in Australia, where there are currently more than 6,400 confirmed cases.

The Prime Minister highlighted the need to “synchronise our health and economic responses to the virus” as Australia starts to move towards eventually easing restrictions.

He also noted that while plans are being made to ease restrictions, the current social distancing measures will stay in place for at least the next four weeks.

Here are the key points from the Prime Minister’s press conference on Thursday April 16.

Watch: Mamamia’s Claire Murphy breaks down your most asked questions about COVID-19. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

The three things we need to get in place before restrictions can be eased.

During the press conference, the Prime Minister outlined the three things Australia needs to get in place to move towards the easing of restrictions.

These included a more extensive testing regime, an even greater tracing capability, and increased localised lockdown ability.

“If we are to move to a different phase when it comes to the restrictions, we need an even broader testing regime than we have at this point,” Morrison said.

“Now, we have one of, if not, the most extensive testing regime is 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 moved to a lesser restriction environment we can have confidence we can identify any outbreaks very very quickly and respond to them.”

The Prime Minister also noted increased contact tracing, adding: “We need to lift that to an industrial capability and do that using technology and we need to do that as soon as we possibly can, and we will be needing the support of Australians, 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 restrictions currently in place will stay for another month.

The Prime Minister reiterated that despite encouraging numbers, the current restrictions will stay in place for at least another four weeks.

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“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,” he said.

“We still have a difficult road ahead of us at this point despite the successes that Australians have achieved in the weeks that we have just gone through. We have stayed ahead of it, we’ve got to keep ahead of it, we can’t allow our patience to wear off,” he continued.

“I know it’s a very anxious thing for Australians. When they see the really good result they go, can’t we all just go back to how it was? None of us would like that more than any of us here. But if you ease off too quickly too early, then you end up making the situation even worse and I don’t just mean in the health terms. We need to keep it finely balanced.”

Listen to the latest episode of Mamamia’s daily news podcast, The Quicky, below. Post continues after podcast.

What the six month period means.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the Federal Government have reiterated that restrictions will likely be in place for a six-month period.

During the press conference, Scott Morrison clarified what the six-month period means.

“On the issue of the health issues, on six months, we have often talked about what is the six months, went does it start and when does it end?” he said.

“This is the June and September quarter. I have always considered the six months, the period in which we have been operating and will operate these lifeline measures in the economy, which is JobSeeker with the JobSeeker supplement, and JobKeeper, they run for the 6-month period, we have bought that time to find the road out.”

The latest information on schools.

The Prime Minister reiterated that although schools are a state and territory issue, they are “a safe place for children to be”.

As the Federal Government pushes to return to on-site learning, the national cabinet has agreed on a set of “national principles” on school education when it comes to handling the coronavius.

Here’s the full list of principles:

  1. Our schools are critical to the delivery of high quality education for students and to give our children the best possible start in life. Our education systems are based on the recognition that education is best delivered by professional teachers to students in the classroom on a school campus.
  2. It is accepted that during the Covid-19 crisis, alternative flexible, remote delivery of education services may be needed.
  3. Our schools must be healthy and safe environments for students, teachers and other staff to ensure the effective and efficient delivery of education to students.
  4. State and territory governments and non-government sector authorities are responsible for managing and making operational decisions for their school systems respectively, subject to compliance with relevant funding agreements with the Commonwealth.
  5. Decisions regarding the response to Covid-19 in the schooling sector must continue to be informed by expert, official, national and state-based public health and education advice, consistent with these national principles.
  6. All students must continue to be supported by their school to ensure participation in quality education during the Covid-19 crisis.
  7. The health advice consistently provided by the AHPPC is that attendance at a school campus for education represents a very low risk to students.
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Parliament may return next month.

Scott Morrison anticipates that regular sittings of parliament will return next month.

“That would not be the Parliament coming together to consider necessarily COVID-19 related measures but if they do need to be considered, of course they can be.

“We want to send a very clear message that we are well ahead of where we thought we might be at this point and that would mean that we might be able to – I would say will be able to – having the Parliament meet again on a regular basis.”

Election promises may be “reconsidered”.

Morrison said the promises made over the election period need to be reconsidered amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Any sense of business as usual when it comes to the policy framework we had election will need to be reconsidered on the other side,” he said.

“To make sure we can achieve growth that will be necessary for our economy to get people back into work, economy back on track, it will be a different world on the other side of the virus and there will be many challenges, and the National Cabinet has a very good appreciation of this, and there has been some talk about its role on the other side of the virus, and that is a discussion for another day.”

Feature Image: ABC.

For more on COVID-19:

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.


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