The national cabinet met for the first time in two weeks today to reassess Australia’s response to the coronavirus crisis with the prime minister Scott Morrison reaffirming the state and territories commitment to maintaining a suppression strategy to fight the spread of the virus.
The PM reports that while there is some better news today out of Victoria and NSW “that is not something that we can assume will continue”.
“I think what this demonstrates is that we’re in this fight and in some fights, we’ll be behind and in some fights, we’ll be ahead. But we’re always in the fight in Australia. And what it demonstrates is that you can deal with outbreaks, you can get on top of them. But you’ve got to be constant about it and you’ve got to throw everything at it.
The PM said the outbreaks in NSW and Victoria are a stark reminder that the virus is still out there he said all other states and territories must remain on alert.
“In many cases like WA and SA, they haven’t had any community transmissions in over 100 days. But the events in Victoria and NSW is a reminder the virus is still out there., so we must remain vigilant.
“A couple of other points that were agreed on today was an affirmation of the suppression strategy that we’ve been working to nationally now for many, many months from the outset. The goal of that is obvious and has always been, no community transmission.
The PM also announced the ramping up of activity by the Australian Defence Force to assist with combatting the virus. He confirmed there are currently 3180 members of the ADF deployed to assist with dealing with COVID-19 related measures on the ground. Morrison confirmed the national cabinet has also adopted an Important principal to ensure the emergency and health response is integrated especially in regional towns and areas.
In an effort to better understand community transmission the PM said there would be more wide-ranging data collection to pick up vulnerabilities.
“We agreed to an even more comprehensive set of data measures which are necessary to ensure that we are collectively aware of what is occurring in all the states and territories and that we’re picking up at the earliest possible opportunity where there may be some vulnerabilities.
“That not only goes to case numbers and thing of that nature which we’ve had for some time. But how quickly cases are being identified, contacts are made, isolated, tracing done for known contacts and then isolation and testing of those,” he said.
The national cabinet has also agreed to maintain a streamlined process when it comes to red tape to allow the rollout of major projects, essential to the government’s commitment to growing jobs during the crisis.
We also agreed today — and I think that this demonstrates just how effective the National Cabinet is not just directly on the health measure — but today, we agreed to fast track processes for those 15 major projects I spoke to some weeks ago.
“There are some 66,000 jobs in those 15 projects and they’re worth about $72 billion in economic activity. So 15 major projects agreed for streamlined approvals processes to get these happening as soon as possible.
The PM again reminded Australians we are all in this together and encouraged everyone to abide by the rules, describing those who flout them as selfish. With a vaccine still some months away both the PM and Deputy CMO encouraged all Australians to maintain good hand hygiene and social distancing to combat community transmission.
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