Update from the Prime Minister
By working together, we are saving lives in Australia.
A month ago, new cases of coronavirus were growing at a rate of more than 20 percent a day. For over ten days now, the rate has fallen to less than one percent a day.
Australia’s actions, including travel bans, quarantine, restrictions on gatherings, social distancing and comprehensive testing and contact tracing, have made a real difference.
However, we can’t afford to get complacent.
Sadly, across the world, we have seen how quickly coronavirus can spread and how devastating it can be.
For example, in the United Kingdom over 18,000 people have died. This is nearly 100 times our death rate, per capita.
In countries like Spain, France and Italy and in some states of the USA, the devastation has been even worse.
Australia must continue to suppress the virus, while planning our road to recovery.
This will include even more comprehensive testing, even more comprehensive contact tracing and local response teams that can ensure outbreaks are contained.
Thanks to the efforts of Australians, we are now in position to ease restrictions on elective surgery.
We have boosted the capacity of hospitals and secured over 3,000 new ventilators.
An additional 60 million masks have been received in the national stockpile, with more than half a billion more on order.
We’ve expanded Medicare-subsidised telehealth services, with five million services delivered since mid-March.
Australia entered this crisis in a position of economic strength. This has enabled us to deliver the biggest economic lifeline in our history.
This week, enrolments have begun for our JobKeeper program, with over 350,000 employers enrolled so far.
Payments of up to $50,000 have also been made to around 177,000 small and medium businesses employing 2.1 million Australians, to help improve their cash flow.
We see businesses, not the government, at the centre of our economy. Helping them to invest and create jobs will be critical for our recovery.
The road ahead will be very tough. However, Australia is in a stronger position to deal with this crisis than almost any other country.
We will continue to protect lives and livelihoods, while planning our road to recovery.
Tomorrow is ANZAC Day, where we normally gather together.
This year our traditions will be interrupted, but we will never forget our history. That’s our promise to everyone who has served and who serves us today.
Today, we also think of our police and their families, all around Australia.
To those who protect our community, we are forever in your debt.
For information and updates, go to: www.australia.gov.au