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Warning of disastrous second wave if restrictions lifted too soon

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Australia’s leaders have been urged not to release the handbrake on coronavirus restrictions too quickly, to avoid a potentially disastrous second infection wave.

Australia's leaders have been urged not to release the handbrake on coronavirus restrictions too quickly, to avoid a potentially disastrous second infection wave.

State and federal leaders will decide on what rules are to be eased tomorrow at a crucial national cabinet meeting.

Deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly said restrictions would be gradually eased rather than a wholesale return to life before the pandemic.

Australia's Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly.

"Some things will open - others will not," he told reporters in Canberra.

"It will be scaled so that risk of increasing the number of cases is minimised while giving the maximum benefit to the economy and to normalisation of society."

Australian Medical Association president Tony Bartone is warning national cabinet not to feel pressured into lifting restrictions.

"Friday's meeting should continue to apply medical evidence when putting the health of all Australians first," he said.

He said reinstating isolation measures after a second wave of infections would be worse for health outcomes and the economy than a cautious relaxation.

"People should not get their hopes up too high at this stage, because rushing to get things back to normal, without caution and safeguards, risks a huge setback for everyone," Dr Bartone said.

There have been 6875 cases of coronavirus in Australia, with 5984 people recovered.

The death toll is 97 with 16 lives claimed at western Sydney nursing home Newmarch House, which faced regulatory action yesterday.

A cluster at a Melbourne abattoir is behind 49 cases, while the national infection rate had its highest increase for more than two weeks on yesterday when 26 diagnoses were reported.

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Victoria has recorded 19 new COVID-19 cases connected to a cluster at Cedar Meats, a meat processing facility.

The effective reproduction number, which measures the ability of the virus to spread, will need to remain below one for eased restrictions to remain in place.

That means an infected person on average passed the disease on to less than one other.

Keeping the growth of infections low and demonstrating an ability to stay on top of outbreaks are other crucial factors.

"As we look to open up society, we will expect to see other outbreaks and the important thing is that we will need to be able to get on top of them quickly," Professor Kelly said.

More than 5.1 million people have downloaded and registered for the government's coronavirus tracing app.

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You can also get up-to-date information from the Federal Government's Coronavirus Australia app, available on the App StoreGoogle Play and the Government's WhatsApp channel.

Source: 9News

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