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Australia discuss lifting coronavirus restrictions

Australia’s leaders are set to discuss lifting coronavirus restrictions for the first time – as the country is told an app that monitors your every move could hold key to a return to normal life

  • The National Cabinet on Thursday will discuss plans to reopen the economy 
  • Slowing infection rate has raised hopes Australia could bounce back sooner 
  • Government is also considering using a mobile app to help trace COVID-19 cases
  • If effective, the app could potentially replace the tough restrictions
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

The National Cabinet will discuss lifting Australia’s coronavirus restrictions for the first time on Thursday – as the Federal Government prepares to roll out a mobile app it believes could be key to bringing the country out of lockdown. 

The rate of coronavirus transmission in Australia is slowing, with latest figures showing more people are recovering from the illness than are battling it for the first time since the pandemic struck the country in January.  

Some 6,400 Australians have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and more than half of them have recovered. Sixty-two people have died. 

Rules rolled out in March have helped flatten the curve of coronavirus infections in Australia 

Some 6,400 Australians have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and more than half of them have recovered. Sixty-two people have died in total

State and federal leaders will meet on Thursday to discuss when restrictions on travel and gatherings of people can be relaxed.

Scott Morrison has stressed the country is not in a position to relax all restrictions, but earlier revealed the government was ready to discuss plans to re-open the economy. 

‘[Today] we will be considering further plans about how we can chart that way back to get the economy operating at a much higher level than it is now so it can support people’s incomes.’ 

Treasury modelling shows Australia’s unemployment rate is expected to nearly double to 10 per cent because of the pandemic.

It was slated to reach as high as 15 per cent without government support.

Australia’s progress

Australia has made significant progress in the fight against coronavirus, with a clear flattening of the curve on the graph that measures the daily infection rate Health Minister says in Australia

‘So we are hopeful that at some point we can move from the phase we are currently in, to a new phase, but I do want to caution Australians that we’re not in that phase yet we’re many weeks away I think from being in a phase like that,’ he added.    

Any easing of restrictions would need to be backed up by a strong health system and even stronger testing regime.  

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly said measures will most likely have to be in place for an estimated six months, but suggested it was possible some rules could be rolled back within that time frame. 

‘We definitely don’t want to just open up everything that we’ve dampened down on so far because we’ve seen in other countries what has happened with an uncontrolled epidemic and we just cannot afford to do that in Australia,’ Prof Kelly said.

The government is also floating the idea of digital tracking via mobile phones, as used in Singapore and Taiwan, to potentially replace the tough restrictions.

The government is also considering rolling out a mobile app designed to help slow the spread of Infection

 TraceTogether is currently being used in Singapore to help track the spread of the disease. It uses Bluetooth to detect other users in close proximity, with encounters stored on a person's phone

Trace Together is currently being used in Singapore to help track the spread of the disease. It uses Bluetooth to detect other users in close proximity, with encounters stored on a person’s phone Australia is set to focus on increased testing for coronavirus

The app, which will be optional, will also require at least 40 per cent of the population to be on board for it to be effective, according to The ABC. 

WHAT AUSTRALIA NEEDS TO DO TO END THE COVID-19 LOCKDOWN 

Scientists at the University of New South Wales said that until a vaccine is available, we have four measures to combat the outbreak.

– Identifying every case rapidly with extensive testing, and isolating cases

– Tracking and quarantine of contacts 

– Travel restrictions 

– Social distancing (including lockdown) to reduce contact (and therefore spread of infection) between people

Source: UNSW 

The TraceTogether application is currently being used in Singapore to help track the spread of the disease.

Australia has been given the code to develop the surveillance software and it is expected to be rolled out within the next fortnight. 

TraceTogether uses Bluetooth to detect other users in close proximity, with encounters stored on a person’s phone. 

They then have to share the records with authorities when asked to be part of a tracing investigation.

‘We’re very keen to use it and use it perhaps even more extensively than Singapore,’ Dr. Murphy told a New Zealand parliamentary hearing. 

Australians should expect current measures to be in place for the next six months, however it is possible some restrictions could be lifted within that time frame 

Article Courtesy of DailMail By KAREN RUIZ FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA

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