Meg Forbes is a mum, freelance writer, and photographer living in the Redlands, South of Brisbane.
Updates for Australia on the government's pandemic response
Covid19 has greatly disrupted everyone's lives during 2020, both here in Australia and internationally. With the situation and infections constantly changing, the Prime Minister's announcements following each National Cabinet meeting provide an opportunity for those of us in Australia to keep up to date with the latest advice and restrictions.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announcing ongoing guidelines following the 24 July 2020 National Cabinet meeting
The first announcement today was that Victoria appears to cautiously be getting on top of their recent outbreak thanks to the great work being done by the majority of people there. Similarly, in New South Wales, where smaller outbreaks have emerged in recent weeks, the guidelines and restrictions appear to be helping to limit the spread of the virus. Contact tracing continues by remote methods such as by telephone, and with physical visits to people's homes. Therefore, although the Prime Minister said that the three-stage plan announced in May as the plan to get Australia out of lockdown hasn't changed, Victoria has just moved back a step.
Additionally, greater coordination of data management is being implemented across all of the Australian States and Territories to help manage the large scale of testing that is being undertaken. However, the Prime Minister also confirmed that the National Cabinet remains committed to a suppression rather than an elimination strategy.
Professor Paul Kelly added that the National Cabinet remains committed to a strong contact tracing and isolation strategy, despite the difficulties it can present, to help stop the spread. Secondly, he reiterated the importance of social distancing, personal hygiene, and staying at home when unwell, and that all of the Premiers remain committed to this stategy as well to help suppress community transmission. To support this, a number of measures were agreed upon including the sharing of information and other resources such as defence force personnel across the States and Territories as needed. Further, strategies such as contact tracing are being strengthened in aged care facilities to help protect those who are most vulnerable across Australia.
A new freight movement protocol was agreed to, especially for the drivers of essential freight for whom a formal code will be developed over the next few days before being announced and implemented by the States and Territories. Additionally, economic support including JobKeeper and JobSeeker will continue, although these will be streamlined over the coming months. More information on JobSeeker can be found here, and more information on JobKeeper can be found here. Further, the Prime Minister also announced that the members of the National Cabinet also agreed to streamlined processes for the approval of 15 major projects that will support about 66000 new jobs worth about $72 billion in economic activity.
Finally, the Prime Minister announced that Australia continues to play an important role in ongoing, worldwide collaborations for the development of a vaccine.
At present, the National Cabinet is meeting every second Friday, with the next meeting and announcements expected on the 7th August 2020.