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Australia has met 11 out of 15 requirements to ease restrictions. These are the four left.

On Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the National Cabinet will discuss the easing of lockdown restrictions a week earlier than expected, as the country prepares for life after coronavirus.

Australia has thus far successfully flattened the COVID-19 curve and, over the past few days, has consistently recorded less than 20 new cases of the virus every 24 hours.

“Australians deserve an early mark for the work that they have done,” Scott Morrison said on Friday.

“We need to restart our economy, we need to restart our society, we can’t keep Australia under the doona, we need to be able to move ahead.”

The Prime Minister added that 11 requirements — or “precedent conditions” — outlined by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) for easing coronavirus restrictions had been satisfied.

Four, though, still need to be met.

Here are the 11 requirements Australia has met, according to chief medical officer Professor Brendan Murphy and the AHPPC:

  1. Community adherence to public health measures
  2. Modelling
  3. Expansion of testing capacity
  4. A mature and large enough public health workforce
  5. Contact tracing capacity
  6. A well-prepared health system
  7. Surge capacity in the healthcare system
  8. ICU-expansion capacity and enough ventilators
  9. Adequate stock of masks
  10. Adequate stocks of medications
  11. Workforce training required to prepare healthcare system

So what is left? There are four more measures Australia must meet before restrictions are lifted.

COVIDSafe downloads must increase.

Scott Morrison stated that increasing the uptake of the COVIDSafe app is essential.

“Of those [four conditions] that remain outstanding, there was one that Australians can do something about, and that is downloading the COVIDSafe app,” Morrison said.

“This is a critical issue for national cabinet when it comes to making decisions next Friday about how restrictions can be eased…

“We need that tool so we can open the economy. So if you haven’t downloaded the app yet, download it. And if you have and you know someone who hasn’t, please encourage them to download it.”

Watch: Prime Minister Scott Morrison on the four conditions still to be met for restrictions to be eased. Post continues below. 

Video by SBS

So far, more than 3.5 million Australians have registered for the app which uses Bluetooth connections to determine who confirmed cases have come into close contact with. It does not track your location.

Millions more are needed to make the scheme effective.

Strengthening the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Professor Brendan Murphy confirmed Australia has taken significant measures to obtain enough PPE for medical staff, however, there are still some hurdles to jump before this condition to be satisfied.

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Whilst there are now enough masks and medications, Professor Murphy explained, “we’re still doing some work to be absolutely confident about other elements of PPE, but we’ve got good confidence and those supply lines are now being restored.”

Supply lines of gowns and gloves still need to be strengthened and confirmed with each state and territory.

The AHPPC also says they need further modelling on the security of supply lines to each state and territory.

Listen to The Quicky, Mamamia’s daily news podcast. This episode, we explore the reality of a COVID-19 vaccine. Post continues below. 

Increased surveillance and new testing strategy.

Professor Murphy explained that another condition for restrictions to be lifted is to see more sophisticated surveillance of COVID-19’s transmission within the community.

The chief medical officer said this will include “cohort testing”, which will test various groups of the community even if they are not displaying any COVID-19 symptoms.

This will be implemented in the aged care sector, health care sector and other sections of the community.

Professor Murphy said this is “just to make sure that our confidence that we don’t have significant asymptomatic transmission is correct.”

For example, they will test aged care workers (on a voluntary basis) even if they are perfectly well to reassure the workers, the patients and the government that they are not unknowingly carrying the virus.

This is a requirement because there is still little known about just how contagious asymptomatic cases of coronavirus.

Resources for increased surveillance.

Following on from the need for this enhanced surveillance condition, the AHPPC says a National Disease Surveillance Plan for COVID-19 has been developed, however, resources for the plan are still required.

Once these four conditions have been satisfied, coronavirus social distancing restrictions within Australia are likely to lifted.

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Feature image: Getty.

To protect yourself and the community from COVID-19, keep at least 1.5 metres away from other people, regularly wash your hands and avoid touching your face.

If you are sick and believe you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your GP ahead of time to book an appointment. Or call the national Coronavirus Health Information Line for advice on 1800 020 080. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

To keep up to date with the latest information, please visit the Department of Health website.


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