Australians have been told how coronavirus restrictions will be slowly lifted as the country prepares for next week’s highly-anticipated national cabinet meeting.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison dangled the possibility of easing social distancing restrictions on Friday – warning they would only be loosened if more Australians downloaded the government’s COVID-19 tracing app.
Nearly 4.5million people have downloaded the app but Mr Morrison previously said 40 per cent of the population need to be using it to effectively trace cases of the virus.
Chief medical officer Brendan Murphy on Sunday said health experts would recommend a slow, staggered process of bringing Australia out of lockdown.
Professor Murphy said each stage of restriction easing would need to be in place for multiple weeks to review how effective they are before any further loosening of rules is considered.
A shopper wearing a mask in Brisbane on Friday. Australia’s chief medical officer has said experts are recommending a slow stage-by-stage process of easing lockdown restrictions
‘We are in a much better position than just about any other country in the world, but we have to be careful as we chart the next couple of months,’ Professor Murphy said.
Despite the prospect of Australia moving out of lockdown in a matter of weeks, the chief government medical adviser said the country needed to make wide-scale changes to decrease the likelihood of another outbreak.
‘I think in so many parts of our society, hygiene practices need to change,’ he said.
‘As a first-world, very wealthy country, have probably become a bit too relaxed about hygiene and I think it’s time that we focus on those things we have learned from these measures.’
He said using saliva to shine cricket balls may have to become a thing of the past at first as Australia begins the road out of the pandemic.
Griffith University psychology Professor Paula Brough said meanwhile some Australians needed to prepare for the adjustment of returning to normal society.
Australia’s chief medical officer Brendan Murphy (pictured) said a slow, staggered process of easing restrictions would be recommended to the government by health experts
A young family enjoy a picnic at Daisy Hill Forest Park in Brisbane on Saturday as coronavirus restrictions are slowly eased across Australia
‘Suddenly you might find yourself in a large room, full of 20 or 30 people perhaps in a meeting or teaching environment,’ she told NewsCorp.
‘Because you’ve been on your own so much, it might be a little more odd than it did previously. But that will wear off.
‘The human contact and human connection is really important.’
Sightseers outside the Sydney Opera House on Sunday. An expert has warned some Australians may not be able to cope at first with the resumption of normal society
The New Zealand Warriors meanwhile arrived in Australia late Sunday after the National Rugby League secured an exemption for the team to enter the country ahead of a planned resumption of the sport.
A charter plane carrying the Warriors landed in the rural town of Tamworth, about five hours drive from Sydney, at about 5:30pm.
The NRL’s only international side will spend 14 days in quarantine in the town, Australia’s country music hub, before competition restarts on May 28.
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 6,799
New South Wales: 3,035
Western Australia: 551
South Australia: 438
Australian Capital Territory: 106
Northern Territory: 29
TOTAL CASES: 6,799
On Saturday Australian officials granted 36 players and staff a rare exemption from the country’s ban on international arrivals, amid a slowdown in new coronavirus cases in Australia and New Zealand.
The Warriors were short two players after centre David Fusitu’a and hooker Nathaniel Roache stayed behind in Auckland.
The club said Fusitu’a had been given permission to delay his departure on compassionate grounds and Roache had been told to do the same after reporting he was unwell.
“We’re totally satisfied Nate has had no contact with any other player or staff member at the club for several weeks and we’re very comfortable we have abided by all policies and requirements,” Warriors CEO Cameron George said.
The NRL season was suspended on March 24 after just two rounds amid a government shutdown of all non-essential gatherings in a bid to stem the spread of coronavirus.