Too early to ease virus rules, most say

The number of new cases of coronavirus might be dropping but almost half of Australians say it’s too early to be thinking about easing tough social distancing restrictions.

The nation’s leaders are considering a possible timetable for lifting business closures and bans on gatherings during the national cabinet’s meeting on Tuesday morning.

They have said the current level of restrictions will remain until mid-May.

New polling from Essential Research finds 49 per cent of the 1051 people surveyed believe it’s too early to be looking at such moves.

More than a quarter said it should be done either within the next month or by the end of May.

Just one in 10 wanted the strict rules to be relaxed as soon as possible.

Younger Australians aged between 18 and 34 were the most likely to want an early easing, at nearly double the overall rate.

NSW residents were also the most eager to get back to life as normal as soon as possible.

But more than half of those living in Victoria and Western Australia said it was too soon.

The polling also looked opinions of the contact tracing app the federal government is developing, based on Bluetooth connections made by a user’s mobile phone.

The government says it wants at least 40 per cent of the population to download the app, saying it could lead to restrictions being eased sooner.

Essential found 38 per cent of respondents would be willing to use the app while another 33 per cent didn’t want it on their phones.

Younger people were the most likely to agree to try it out.

But there are major privacy concerns.

Nearly two-thirds of people said they would be concerned about the security of their personal data if they had the app on their phone.

And nearly three in five were uncomfortable with the thought of the government tracking all their movements.

People’s confidence in the government’s use of data collected from the app was split, with a third each saying they were worried or had no concerns.

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