Relaxed restrictions may trigger more virus outbreaks
AUSTRALIANS have been warned to be prepared for snap, local shutdowns as impending relaxations of restrictions on sport and work are expected to spark coronavirus outbreaks.
After another marathon National Cabinet meeting yesterday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison moved to expose the mixed message on schools and pressured the states to end the more stringent shutdowns taken over and above medical expert advice.
National Cabinet will be provided sport and recreational principles as early as next Friday - paving the way for kids to get back on fields across the country and putting a further blowtorch on states running skeleton-staffed schools.
Ten workplace principles were yesterday ticked off by leaders, including, "business and workers must prepare for the possibility that they will be cases of COVID-19 in the workplace and be ready to respond immediately, appropriately, effectively and efficiently and consistent with advice from health authorities".
But the Prime Minister's message was more blunt with aged care facilities isolating seniors, revealing the Commonwealth would force nursing homes to individually explain themselves if they continued to lock away residents.
To control the pandemic in Australia - and to start waking Australia out of its hibernation - the growth rate needs to be below one and, as of yesterday, it was 0.72.
As of yesterday, Australia had recorded 6673 coronavirus cases and 78 people had died from the disease.
Signalling "we're ahead of where we thought we would be", Mr Morrison warned the public to be aware that more freedom would come with more risks.
"We're ahead of where we thought we would be - I think that's very pleasing," Mr Morrison told Sky News.
"Having got through that first wave, we did very well," he told Sky News.
"The second wave was all Australians coming home and now we're dealing with the risk of community outbreaks and we're on top of that, but we can't be complacent."
Mr Morrison did not rule out that it was possible to eradicate the virus.
"But if you pursue an eradication strategy, that's basically everyone getting under the doona and not getting out, and you can't run a country like that," he said.
However, he said he wanted to be careful of lifting restrictions too quickly and they would have to be done incrementally.
"What we don't want to see is a stop-start approach to our road back," he said.
Mr Morrison championed a new coronavirus app that will be released soon, saying it was needed to help tracing as the number of imported cases were negligible and the focus turned to community transmission.
"We need this so we can have the protections in place for you, your family, so you can get back to work," he said.
"We should be aware, as a community right across the country, that when we take further steps to ease restrictions, of course, we will continue to see outbreaks. That is to be expected.
"What matters is being able to move on them quickly, to identify them.
"Dealing with those outbreaks will be one of the things we will have to live with when we're in a position of having further eased restrictions across the country."
Federal Parliament will resume with a greater number of MPs on May 12 - the final week of the four-week period that has been flagged as the start of restrictions being eased.
And in a message to those in the community walking around with face masks to protect themselves from the virus, Chief Health Officer Brendan Murphy declared it was unnecessary.
Professor Murphy said wearing a mask did not protect people from the deadly virus.
However, he said wearing a mask for those with symptoms could prevent them from passing the disease on.
Mr Morrison outlined three phases of the virus.
The first was the mass cause of the spread of the virus out of China - the export phase, where millions of infected travellers spread it across the globe.
He said the "repatriation phase" led to Australians bringing it home.
"We saw many, many internationally acquired cases, more than two-thirds at certain times, of the total number of cases in Australia,'' he said.
The final phase was community transmission in Australia, Mr Morrison said.
Originally published as Relaxed restrictions may trigger more virus outbreaks