State and federal leaders will decide what rules are to be eased on Friday, April 8 at a national cabinet meeting.
Australian Medical Association president Tony Bartone warned the national cabinet not to feel pressured into lifting restrictions and said they should apply medical evidence to any decision, according to a press release on May 6.
“People should not get their hopes up too high at this stage, because rushing to get things back to normal, without caution and safeguards, risks a huge setback for everyone,” Bartone said.
He said in the event of a second wave of infections, implementing isolation measures would be worse for people’s health and the economy.
As part of this effort, the federal government introduced on May 1, new rules to make workplaces “virus-safe.” Prime Minister Scott Morrison supported the measure saying to reporters on May 5, “To get Australians back to work, what is essential is they could go back into a COVID-19 safe workplace.”
On the same day, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern joined Australia’s national cabinet to discuss creating a special travel zone between the two countries. She emphasised the relationship between the nations saying, “I do think that we should both be proud of the efforts that have been made and the ANZAC bond.”
States Have Been Easing Restrictions
In New South Wales, the state lifted restrictions on May 1, allowing families (consisting of two adults and their children) to visit other households for the first time in weeks.
While in Queensland, travel restrictions have been eased allowing residents to travel up to 50 kilometres from their homes for recreational purposes. They’re also currently considering lifting more restrictions in time for Mother’s Day.
Deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly said restrictions needed to be gradually eased rather than any immediate return to life before the pandemic.
“Some things will open, others will not,” he told reporters in Canberra. “It will be scaled so that risk of increasing the number of cases is minimised while giving the maximum benefit to the economy and to normalisation of society.”
The ACT will stagger sending public school students back to classrooms over the next four weeks.
Select year levels will begin returning from May 18, eventually, all students will return by June. Non-government schools are expected to follow a similar timeline.
There have been 6,875 cases of coronavirus in Australia, with 5,984 people recovered.
Forty-nine cases were discovered at the Cedar Meats abattoir in Melbourne, while the national infection rate had its highest increase for more than two weeks on Wednesday when 26 cases were reported.
More than 5.1 million people have downloaded and registered for the government’s virus tracing app. Currently, over 5 million people have applied for the Jobkeeper program.