Australia’s COVID-19 Cases Drops to Five-Week Low

Australia moved towards its lowest daily surge in coronavirus infections in five weeks on Friday. This happened as the hotspot state of Victoria came close to the midway point of lockdown. The scenario prompted the prime minister to hail “a week of increased hope.”

“The Working Strategy”

While the rest of Australia relaxes restrictions, the home state of a quarter of its population is in a six-week lockdown because of a second wave of virus infections. Victoria registered 179 new cases in the past 24 hours, from 240 a day earlier and down from over 700 a day two weeks ago. The state reported a total of nine deaths.

The most populous state of the country, neighboring New South Wales, recorded just one new case. The emergency cabinet of state and federal leaders talked about the prospect of easing closures of state borders that have been running for months.

“Today’s meeting of national cabinet came during what I would describe as a week of increased hope,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison talked in a television news conference. He also claimed that his country was doing better than most and many of the developed countries in this situation.

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews stated that new case numbers in his state had decreased quicker than he anticipated after the state rolled out a nightly curfew and shuttered many businesses.

Situation in Queensland

“We are all pleased to see a ‘one’ in front of these additional case numbers,” Andrews said. “To be at this point shows that the strategy is working.”

With cases in Victoria falling and low or zero levels of infections elsewhere, some states had yet to report daily figures by mid-afternoon. Some business leaders have asked for relaxation in internal travel restrictions to ease off the blow to business and the economy. Many states have shut down their borders to avoid the spread of infection. Earlier this week, Queensland’s premier said its border won’t reopen to any states with cases of community transmission.

However, Prime Minister Morrison said Queensland had now agreed to ease up the ban on interstate travel for people looking for health services. He stated that he would call for an agreed definition of a “hot spot” so the authorities and travelers could understand who was, or was not, allowed for interstate traveling.

This week, Qantas Airways Ltd said that state border closures were majorly hampering a recovery in the domestic aviation market. Whereas, retail group Wesfarmers said the restrictions were leading to “enormous hardship.”

Other than the Victoria outbreak, Australia has extensively avoided the high casualty numbers of many other nations with just under 24,500 infections and 472 deaths due to the novel coronavirus.