A decision on easing restrictions around the country will be brought forward by a week with officials declaring Australia has “convincingly” flattened the curve.
National Cabinet will now make a call next Friday.
“Australians have earned an early mark through the work that they have done,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared on Friday.
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But any move to reopen parts of the economy hinges on more people downloading the COVIDSafe app in the next week.
Currently, more than 3.5 million people have installed their app on their smartphones, but the Government had previously wanted an uptake of around 10 million.
Mr Morrison says they haven’t put a figure on the number of downloads they want in place by next week, but he says it needs to be higher.
Officials say most other measures that would allow restrictions to be eased are now in place including increased testing, tracing, surveillance and Personal Protective Equipment.
However the app remains one of the final pieces in that puzzle.
“The degree to which we can confidently ease restrictions that are in place now, it really does depend on how much coverage we can get with the COVIDSafe app and how much that builds over the course of the next week,” Mr Morrison said.
Mr Morrison has stressed if restrictions are eased next week it won’t be “open slather” and will be done in a cautious way.
When asked specifically about pubs, the Prime Minister again highlighted the importance of the app.
“Now if that isn’t an incentive to downloading COVIDSafe on a Friday, I don’t know what is.
“So I encourage people to do just that this afternoon and to encourage them, if they’re talking to each other on Zoom or if they’re having a cold one later today in that environment. If they’re looking forward to doing it in a pub, well that is a prerequisite to even getting that conversation.”
The Prime Minister also stressed they are not considering any further restrictions and we have been out of that “mode” for several weeks.
But he also warned that we don’t want to get into a situation where they have to reintroduce restrictions down the track.
“The national cabinet is very adamant that we want to ensure we keep moving forward. We do not want to go into a start-stop or even worse, reverse process into the future.”
Australia now has 6765 coronavirus cases across the country with the death toll at 93.
Testing continues to be high with more than 570,000 Australians now swabbed for the virus.
“Pretty convincingly we have flattened the curve and you can see our number of cases each day continue to be pretty flat,” Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said.
The Prime Minister insists our overall success in dealing with the pandemic won’t just be about eliminating the virus.
“That’s not the only curve we need to flatten. We need to reduce unemployment, we need to get business open, we need to enable Australians to get back to back to work, to earn, to be able to support their families and households and support the Australian economy.”