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Some states to reopen faster than others

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

The national cabinet has decided on three phases of easing coronavirus restrictions in coming months as Australia charts its course out of the pandemic.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has outlined Australia's path out of the coronavirus crisis with a three-stage approach to reopening the nation.

State and territory governments will choose when to move through the phases, with the third and final part of the plan set to be in place nationally by July.

Mr Morrison says the plan would get 850,000 people back to work in the coming months.

"You can stay under the doona forever and you'll never face any danger. But we've got to get out from under the doona at some time," he said on Friday.

"If not now, well, then when?"

States can pick and choose which elements of the stages they move on.

Cafes, restaurants and shops will be permitted to reopen under the first stage, which allows for public outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people.

Five people will be allowed to visit other homes.

Weddings will be allowed up to 10 guests in addition to the couple and celebrant, while funerals can have 20 mourners indoors and 30 outdoors.

In stage two, non-work gatherings will be allowed 20 people, with the figure increasing to 100 under the third step.

Gyms and cinemas will be allowed to reopen under the second phase.

Pubs and clubs won't be allowed to reopen until the final stage, which will see people return to workplaces on a larger scale.

Trans-Tasman and Pacific Island travel could restart in July, but other international borders will remain closed.

Physical distancing requirements will remain in place to limit the spread of the virus, which has caused 97 deaths nationally.

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"Step one is tentative, baby steps into normalisation," Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said.

"If everything goes well, we don't have big outbreaks, step two could be more confident."

Mr Morrison said moving through the stages would be guided by medical advice.

"When that plan has been implemented, people will be back in work, people will be back together, and Australia will be stronger."

Victoria will not relax rules until at least Monday while the ACT is expected to announce the adoption of some stage one measures on Friday.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has flagged a cautious approach.

WA is at the other end of the scale, with low infection rates and hard border closures giving the state a better starting point to take the next steps.

Premier Mark McGowan said he would move quicker than the eastern states.

"Clearly Western Australia has the opportunity to be more economically progressive than other states," he said in Perth.

Meanwhile, Mr Morrison met via video with leaders from Israel, Denmark, Singapore, Greece, Czech Republic and Norway on Thursday night.

The First Movers COVID Group, which include countries who have been relatively successful in containing the virus, discussed economic restarts, scientific co-operation and managing outbreaks.

The prime minister also reiterated his push for an inquiry into the response to the coronavirus, which has strained relations with China.

Source: 9News

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