Australia expected to begin lifting national restrictions

The National Cabinet, comprised of state and territory leaders from across Australia as well as the prime minister, will meet

Masked people in front of Sydney Opera House

Photo: AAP/Steven Saphore

The National Cabinet, comprised of state and territory leaders from across Australia as well as the prime minister, will meet today in Canberra to discuss the first phase of reopening the economy.

Morrison has called today’s meeting, originally scheduled for a later date, early because he claims Australia has made considerable progress toward stemming the spread of COVID-19.

As of Wednesday, Australia had 6,849 confirmed cases of the virus, with almost 5,900 recoveries and 96 deaths. With the curve of new infections flattening, lockdown restrictions costing the country $2.5 billion dollars a week and unemployment on track to double to 10%, it is likely that Morrison will begin to ease restrictions today—or, at a minimum, announce a timetable for restarting the economy.

The Australian economy is likely to weather the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, though recovery will be slow. Tourism revenues, which have fallen $479 million last month alone, are widely expected to recover once other countries’ lockdowns ease. Likewise, it will likely be weeks, if not months, before the Australian service industry gets fully back on its feet.

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