Australia Joins Exclusive ‘First Movers COVID’ Response Group

May 8, 2020 Updated: May 8, 2020

Prime Minister Scott Morrison joined an exclusive meeting with a small group of world leaders whose countries responded quickly and successfully to the CCP virus outbreak and are now looking to restart their economies and get back to a level of normality.

Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz hosted the video conference, called “First Movers COVID Group.”

The meeting was also attended by Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Discussions were held on the need to reopen schools, how to localise virus clusters, the importance of contact tracing and rapid testing, scientific research, and economic regeneration.

“None of us know what happens when we open up our economies and open up the schools and especially the young kids who cannot practice any separation and they’ll infect one another. We have to be ready for an accordion effect,” said Netanyahu.

Consultation agreements were made between the groups with Israel leading on database issues. Greece would lead consultation on tourism and aviation, and Denmark will lead the reopening of schools.

The other leaders said they were aware of the quick uptake of Australia’s “COVIDSafe” contact tracing app.

Morrison has frequently hailed the work of Singapore and borrowed its idea of a mobile phone app to more effectively allow health “detectives” to trace the contacts of people who have the virus.

According to World-O-Meter figures, Australia has the second-lowest number of CCP virus cases in the group with 6,901 cases, behind Greece with 2,678 cases. Singapore has the highest number of cases with 20,939, and 20 deaths.

Austria was one of the standout countries in dealing with the virus. The European nation was one of the first to go into lockdown on March 14. They started lifting restrictions on April 6, going against World Health Organisation recommendations.

Morrison has been lobbying global leaders to support a motion that will be tabled at the World Health Assembly on May 18 that will call for an investigation into the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus. It is hoped the investigation will help to better enable speedy response to future potential pandemics.

The eight nations’ representatives will meet again next week. The May 7 meeting occurred less than 24 hours before a significant national cabinet meeting between Australia’s premiers and chief ministers during which the lifting of restrictions was discussed.