Australia plans to lift coronavirus lockdown by July, even though it only has 20 cases a day
Australia will start to slowly roll back coronavirus lockdown measures, the prime minister announced.
Over the next two months, the plan to resume most operations by July will be executed in steps. Since its first confirmed case, Australia has had 6,899 infections, with 97 deaths.
Australia began an immediate and strict lockdown, which was credited with helping reduce the number of new infections to 20 a day.
“We have strengthened our health system and put the protections in place. On the front line, our testing and our tracing capabilities, containing outbreaks, all backed up by a health system with more ICU beds and ventilators, more personal protective equipment, doctors, nurses, first responders, ready to go,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a press conference on Friday.
“So with that work being done, today National Cabinet agreed on a three-step plan and a national framework to achieve a COVID-safe economy and society and it is our goal to move through all of these steps to achieve that COVID safe economy in July of this year.”
The government laid out its plan while advising citizens to continue observing social distancing protocols, and to remain home if feeling unwell. Additionally, Morrison encouraged citizens to use the COVIDSafe app to help with social tracing.
In the first step, restaurants and cafes will reopen, resuming full service but with a limit of 10 customers at a time. Gyms, cinemas and retail centers will reopen in the second step, but with a limit of 20 customers at a time.
The third step will allow gatherings of up to 100 people and staff to return to work at pubs, clubs and gaming venues. At this point, interstate travel would resume, and international flights would resume in a limited capacity.
There will be a four-week wait between each step.
Several states will start to roll back measures starting Monday, but more populated states, such as New South Wales and Victoria, will wait a little longer.
“There will be risks, there will be challenges, there will be outbreaks, there will be more cases, there will be setbacks,” Morrison added. “Not everything will go to plan. There will be inconsistencies. States will and must move at their own pace, and will cut and paste out of this plan to suit their local circumstances.
“But we cannot allow our fear of going backwards from stopping us from going forwards.”