As Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and Western Australia announce plans to ease stay-at-home restrictions, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told reporters on April 28 that “everything is on the table” in terms of lifting restrictions if cases of the CCP virus continue to decrease.
“We’ve seen zero cases today. If we keep seeing that, more can be reopened,” she said.
The premier encouraged Queenslanders to download the federal government’s new “COVIDSafe” contact tracing app. The more families that sign up, the greater the chance to get Queensland’s economy open and moving again, Palaszczuk said.
Two million Australians downloaded “COVIDSafe” within the first day of its release.
“COVIDSafe” is a smartphone app that uses Bluetooth technology to swap and store an encrypted identifier unique to each devices from other devices that are within range for more than 15 minutes. This means that if one of the phone’s owners contract COVID-19, health authorities will then ask for permission to access the data to trace the contacts of the infected person and tell them to get tested.
“This (strong) effort will help protect ourselves, our families, our nurses and our doctors. (Thank you) AUS as we work together to beat this virus,” health minister Greg Hunt wrote on Twitter on April 27.
1.89m people have now downloaded and registered for the #COVIDSafeApp as at 4pm today. This💪effort will help protect ourselves, our families, our nurses and our doctors. 🙏AUS as we work together to beat this virus. Visit an app store & download today.https://t.co/vn3Nof801T
— Greg Hunt (@GregHuntMP) April 27, 2020
Permanently Change How We Interact
Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said on Monday that we need to “permanently” change the way we interact, or at least “certainly for the foreseeable future,” in order to manage new outbreaks of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus.
Murphy wants to see fewer than 20 new cases each week—or ideally none—before the nation starts easing restrictions. However, state governments have already begun to wind them back, encouraged by the almost flattened curve.
Murphy said the nation cannot be complacent now, and going forward when new cases are going to be detected as social distancing restrictions lift.
The message from authorities is that more testing and better contact tracing will provide the confidence to get the country going again.
States are already moving to ramp up testing, with Victoria aiming to test 100,000 over the next fortnight—double the number it has checked so far during the pandemic.
Australia’s coronavirus death toll has risen to 84 after another NSW aged care resident died.
Australia continues to have a low rate of increase in new cases, with 6,720 people diagnosed with the virus to date, rising by just 9 nationally on April 27.
Of the 1,100 active cases, 113 are in hospital, with 43 in intensive care.
AAP contributed to this article.