Australia Labor Minister Warns About Potential for Second Virus Wave

By AAP
May 1, 2020 Updated: May 1, 2020

While Australians may be looking forward to the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, Labor says there are still concerns about a second wave of the virus in the community.

Australia’s handling of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus, is at a critical stage as some states start to ease restrictions and the national cabinet prepares to consider lifting some broader measures next week.

While this will be a relief to many Australians after weeks of isolation, a federal opposition frontbencher believes people are equally concerned about a “second wave” of a virus that other countries thought they had under control.

“I think everyone has really taken very seriously the experience of Singapore, which was, of course, lauded as a great example of how to manage the pandemic, and of course they have been struck by a very significant second wave,” Labor’s Andrew Giles told ABC television on Saturday. “And I think this is something that I am sure is on the minds of all the chief medical officers and everyone who sits around the national cabinet table.”

He said it would be equally as distressing for Australians if any easing of restrictions had to be reversed.

‘COVID Safe’ App

More than 3.5 million Australians have registered for the “COVID-Safe” app, which uses Bluetooth connections to determine who infected people came into close contact with.

“Certainly the national cabinet has made clear that we have that tracing capability,” Liberal backbencher Trent Zimmerman told ABC television. “Incredibly in just a week 3.5 million Australians have downloaded the app but we need to see several million more.”

However, he said it is too early to say what restrictions might be lifted.

The national cabinet will meet on Tuesday and Friday next week.

Giles said it has been “really striking” how Australians have responded to the crisis.

Australia’s Ambassador to the United States Arthur Sinodinos agreed, saying the Trump administration is “impressed” with how his home country has handled the coronavirus.

“I think they are impressed at the fact that we started to close borders early, the fact that we took early action on social distancing and lockdowns and all the rest of it,” Sinodinos told Sky News. “I think they feel that as a country we have got it together and I think it’s impressed them a lot.”

Just under 6,800 virus cases have been reported across the country, with the death toll standing at 93—extremely low by international standards.

Colin Brinsden and Matt Coughlan.