KUALA LUMPUR, May 8 — Australia’s Covid-19 restrictions will be relaxed under a three-step framework which is intended to reopen the country by July.
Prime Minister Scott Morisson and his chief medical officer, Brendan Murphy presented the plan today during a press conference.
“Success is not being able to stand up every day and say there’s three cases or 12 cases or 18 cases,” Morrison said, “Not when you’ve got a million people out of work.”
How the plan would be implemented has been left to the country’s eight state and territory governments as deemed appropriate to the local outbreak.
Restrictions imposed six weeks ago have crippled the Australian economy, caused unemployment to skyrocket to 10 percent, and the gross domestic product (GDP) which is expected to contract 6 percent by the end of the year.
The plan involves re-opening the economy in three stages, which will largely be focused on the number of people involved.
Covers all businesses, activities and social gatherings with a 10-person limit. Retail stores, cafes and restaurants will be able to reopen.
It allows for:
- Up to 5 visitors to private homes
- Up to 10 people gathering in public for non-work purposes
- Up to 10 guests at a wedding, in addition to the couple
- Up to 10 attendees for religious gatherings
- Up to 20 mourners to an indoor funeral, and 30 if outdoors
Employees would continue to work from home if suitable. Food courts would remain closed.
At this stage, there is a 20-person limit with similar measures to step one. Cinemas, galleries, and zoos will be allowed to have up to 20 patrons. Gyms, beauty parlours and amusement parks will be permitted to reopen.
Though a 100 person limit is imposed, this stage is closer to what is considered “normalcy”. Most workers will be back in their workplaces.
Restaurants, cafes, food courts, cinemas and other entertainment facilities, weddings and funerals will be allowed to host up to 100 people. Clubs, pubs and gaming venues will be permitted to reopen.
Restrictions on interstate travel will be lifted and movement between Australia and New Zealand, and some Pacific Island countries will be permitted. However, international travel restrictions are expected to remain in place.
The plan can be downloaded here.
Australia has reduced the growth rate of new daily infections from around 20 percent last month to less than 0.5 percent. Overall, there have been 6,896 cases in the country. There have been 97 fatalities.
The country’s population of 25.7 million has been placed on home lock down with movement restricted to essential shopping for food supplies, medical needs, school or work. Groups were limited to two people.