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Australia passes ‘first milestone on the way out’ of COVID-19 crisis

The national cabinet today announced the relaxation of restrictions on elective surgery, in a step Prime Minister Scott Morrison dubbed “another step on the way” out of the coronavirus crisis.

Speaking to 3AW’s Tom Elliott, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt echoed Mr Morrison’s sentiment.

“We’re doing better than our best case scenario,” Mr Hunt said.

“Today was literally the first milestone on that way out.

“For now we’re in a four week period where we are maintaining the distancing rules.

“If we continue to achieve the flattening of the curve through the distancing, the tracing, the border control, then that will put us in a really strong position to start to progressively, gradually, cautiously taking step by step.”

Australia has now recorded nine consecutive days where the number of new coronavirus cases has increased by less than one per cent a day.

From 6.30am on Monday to 6.30am on Tuesday, just 13 new cases were recorded nationwide.

It’s amid this environment that the decision was made to resume all category two elective surgeries, and selected category three surgeries next week.

Mr Hunt said the move comes “months earlier than anticipated”.

The move to lift elective surgery restrictions came after the government was able to shore up supplies of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers and secure additional ventilators.

Australia has received a shipment of 60 million masks, and another 100 million are in transit.

In the last 10 days, Australia has acquired over 3200 ventilators, bringing the country to its goal of 7500.

“That means we’re prepared for every realistically conceivable eventuality,” Mr Hunt said.

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Elective surgery ban lifted: The procedures that will resume next week