Scott Morrison Announces Three Step Plan To Take Australia Out Of Coronavirus Pandemic
The Australian prime minister has announced public gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed under the first relaxation of social distancing rules in Australia.
After the National Cabinet meeting adjourned, Scott Morrison said a three-step program has been agreed upon to help Australia move out of the coronavirus pandemic.
Under step one, in addition to the 10-person public gatherings, five people will also be allowed to visit another household and residents will be able to continue working from home if it works for you and your employer.
Retail stores, restaurants and cafes, home sales and auctions, local playgrounds and outdoor boot camps will be allowed to reopen, and local and regional travel will be permitted.
Places that have visitors or customers will have to uphold the current social distancing measures like 1.5 metres' distance between people.
Mr Morrison said: "Step one is cautious. It's gentle. It's not doing too much at once. Because we're in uncharted territory. There's not many countries in the world like Australia that's in a position to start gently relaxing measures with such low case numbers.
"We don't want to lose the control we've got. We want to make sure that outbreaks that occur are managed and controlled. We also want to make sure that before we do anything, every Australian follows these measures.
"Everyone continues to practise that physical distancing all the time. Everyone maintains good hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, everyone stays home when they're unwell."
In step two, there will be gatherings of up to 20 people as well as the permission to reopen gyms, beauty therapy, cinemas, theatres, galleries, museums, amusement parks and some interstate travel.
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Pubs and bars that have appropriate seating will be able to open, as long as they limit the number of patrons to 20 people.
Step Three will allow travel across the Tasman to New Zealand, gatherings of up to 100 people and people will be allowed to return to their offices.
Places like food courts, bathhouses and saunas can reopen and people will be allowed to travel interstate.
The Chief Medical Officer, Dr Brendan Murphy, said it won't be until Step Three that nightclubs and bars will be able to operate at full, under the 100 person limit. It's been previously said that these venues and music festivals won't be allowed to fully operate until a vaccine is created.
"In this plan, we walk before we run," Mr Morrison said in a press conference in Canberra.
"We know we need to be careful to preserve our gains, if we wish to reclaim the ground we lost, we cannot be too timid.
"There will be risks. There will be challenges. There will be outbreaks, there will be more cases, there will be set backs.
"Not everything will go to plan. States will and must move at their own pace, and will cut and paste out of this plan to suit their local circumstances. There will be undoubtedly be some human error. No-one is perfect.
"Everyone is doing their best. To think or expect otherwise, I think, would be very unrealistic. This is a complex and very uncertain environment."
Mr Morrison said 5.3 million people have downloaded the CovidSafe app since it was launched and encouraged more people to get it on their device to allow authorities to get as much data as possible.
Featured Image Credit: PA