Australia To Reopen Economy This Week, But Warns COVID-19 Cases May Surge

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Coronavirus COVID-19 Australia Airport
French nationals queue to enter Sydney's international airport to be repatriated back to France on April 2, 2020, amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. - The French government has chartered three Airbus A380 aircraft flown by Qatar Airways to repatriate mostly French nationals wanting to return home from Australia due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one from Perth which left March 31, one today from Sydney and a third from Melbourne on April 4. PETER PARKS/AFP via Getty Images

Australia is bracing for an uptick of COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks as the country opens up its economy again after two months of lockdown and travel and social distancing restrictions.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison addressed worries that businesses reopening this week could lead to a possible surge in coronavirus cases. This warning follows what could one of the most successful efforts by a country to curb the pandemic.

Australia has successfully contained the spread of the virus since its first case was confirmed in January 2020. In over three months, its confirmed coronavirus cases is only at 6,849 and 96 deaths, as of May 5, 9:38 p.m.

While Morrison has declared that Australia has already flattened the curve of the COVID-19 pandemic, he admits the country is facing a new curve the government needs to address — unemployment.

“Thousands of Australian lives have been saved, when you look at the experience of how coronavirus has affected so many countries around the world,” the prime minister told reporters after his national cabinet meeting.

“But we now need to get a million Australians back to work. That is the curve we need to address.”

He also clarified that while restrictions will slowly be lifted starting this week, each state and territory may have different reopening plans. Some may choose to keep their lockdown measures for longer.

“At the end of the day, every premier, every chief minister has to stand in front of their state and justify the decisions that they’re taking in terms of the extent of the restrictions that are in place – the trade-off that they’re making between people having jobs and the impact on the containment of the coronavirus.”

Despite his warning that an increase in cases may happen in the coming weeks, Morrison reassured the public that the government is ready and now more capable of handling the virus.

“We’ve built these protections over the last six weeks and more, and that means that we’re in a much stronger position to resist and deal with any increase in cases,” he said.