Australians working from home during the coronavirus outbreak may soon be allowed back into the office as Australia’s virus curve remains flat.
But the country’s top doctor has signalled he first wants to see up to 50,000 Australians a day tested for coronavirus in a bid to avoid a ‘second wave’ of coronavirus.
There has been just 13 new cases recorded across the country overnight, with the country’s total at 6673 and the death toll at 78.
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Prime Minister Scott Morrison says Australia is now in the third phase of the pandemic which needs to be managed in a different way.
“That’s the community phase where the virus actually moves from within our own community. That requires particularly different tools, building on the ones that we already have in place and that is the testing, that is the tracing, and that is the rapid response,” Mr Morrison said.
The Prime Minister says we are getting close to things starting to return to normal but warns that will inevitably lead to more cases.
“When we take further steps to ease restrictions we will continue to see outbreaks. That is to be expected.
“What matters is being able to move on them quickly, to identify them.”
National Cabinet met on Friday, agreeing to a set of principles that will soon allow Australians to return to their workplaces.
“This is all about getting Australians back to work and ensuring that when they go back to work that they and their families can feel safe in going back to work, and to ensure that there are important principles in place, there are protocols and procedures that, should a COVID case present in a workplace, then the rules that people need to follow,” Mr Morrison said.
The Prime Minister says getting people back into offices will be an important step forward for the economy.
“I’m sure you’d know that if you’re a parent at home, trying to work from home and you’ve also got the kids at home, and they’re trying to learn, it’s not working too well for you and your productivity isn’t doing too well either.
“And so when we can get back to the point where we can have kids back at school, and we can get people back at work, then I think we’re gonna see that also lift our economy in ways that we very much need.”
Chief Health Officer Brendan Murphy has cautioned that easing restrictions comes with a serious risk of a second wave.
Professor Murphy has also warned that young people with no symptoms or only mild symptoms would pose a greater risk of spreading the virus if we to reopen large parts of the economy.
He says we must see a stringent testing and surveillance regime in place.
“No Australian wants to see hundreds of people dying a day from coronavirus, we are not prepared to see that, and that’s why we are being so cautious,” Professor Murphy said.
“We want to be testing 40,000, 50,000 Australians a day if necessary, so that we can be absolutely sure.”
National Cabinet will also begin working on a set of principles that would allow all sport to resume as well.
That would cover elite sport, competitive local sport and passive sporting activities.
“I think people would welcome seeing these things happening again, and not just at the elite and professional level, everything around from going for a surf to having a game of football or netball,” The Prime Minister said.
“So, we want to get back to a place where that can happen and we can have the confidence to do it safely and we want to do that as soon as we can.”