Decision on virus rules brought forward

Some of Australia’s coronavirus restrictions will be lifted earlier than expected with state and federal leaders set to make an announcement next Friday.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said national cabinet would ease restrictions after next week’s meeting, bringing forward the decision from May 11.

“Australians have earned an early mark through the work they have done,” he told reporters in Canberra on Friday.

Mr Morrison said measures would be weighed up based on health risks and benefits to the economy.

“We can’t keep Australia under the doona. We need to be able to move ahead,” he said.

Expanding testing, boosting contact tracing and preparing the health system to deal with the disease were key benchmarks needed to relax rules.

Chief medical officer Brendan Murphy said health authorities were confident hospitals including intensive care units could cope with potential outbreaks.

There’s also enough personal protective equipment available for health workers.

“We are very clear we have enough masks. That’s a great thing after all of the issues we’ve had with masks,” Professor Murphy told reporters.

The government is urging more people to download the CovidSafe tracing app, with the 3.5 million registered short of what is needed to make it effective.

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