Australian governments met today as the National Cabinet to take further action to slow the spread of coronavirus to save lives, and to save livelihoods.
We will be living with this virus for at least six months, so social distancing measures to slow the spread of this virus must be sustainable for at least that long to protect Australian lives.
We need to ensure Australia keeps functioning, to keep Australians in jobs.
The Chief Medical Officer Dr Brendan Murphy provided an update on the measures underway on the latest data and medical advice in relation to coronavirus.
There are more than 4,200 confirmed cases in Australia and sadly 18 people have died.
Of the newly reported cases in the last week, the majority have been from New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.
National Cabinet noted that the vast majority of cases in Australia are imported from overseas or are locally acquired contacts of a confirmed case.
Testing keeps Australians safe. Australia has one of the most rigorous coronavirus testing systems in the world with more than 238,000 tests completed.
National Cabinet noted the successful implementation of enhanced border measures including the 14-day mandatory quarantine period for international travellers.
The Chief Medical Officer advice is that following the scaled up social distancing measures over the last week, Australia has now achieved significant behavioural change and that the message to “stay at home unless doing limited essential activities” is being heeded.
It is clear the epidemiology curve is beginning to flatten. But it is too early to determine whether such movements will be significant or sustained.
Stronger adherence to social distancing and new quarantine arrangements for returned travellers will take a number of days to show maximum effect.
The biggest single concern remains the evidence of cases where there are no known local links.
The Prime Minister and the Secretary of the Commonwealth Treasury also provided an overview of the economic outlook and the medium and longer term financial risks.
National Cabinet strongly endorsed the Commonwealth’s JobKeeper package and urged its support through the Commonwealth Parliament to provide much needed financial support to the Australian economy. They noted that the medium and long-term financial risks were manageable.
National Cabinet agreed to meet again on Friday 3 April 2020.
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