Australia’s coronavirus infection curve may be flattening but it is still too early to relax strict social distancing rules, Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy says.

More than 6350 Australians had been infected with COVID-19 as of Monday afternoon and 61 people had died.

Two more deaths were recorded overnight but there were only 46 new cases nationwide in 24 hours.

However, the low number of new infections could partly be due to less testing over Easter.

Professor Murphy said it was important Australia maintained social distancing measures for the time being, as every single undetected community transmission could infect a lot of people.

“The scale of measures at the moment are something that we clearly do have to review … but it’s not now, it’s within the next few weeks,” he told ABC radio on Monday.

“I think we need to look at all of the data, look at our preparedness, and the national cabinet will be making a lot of decisions about what, if anything, can be relaxed in the coming weeks.”


Professor Murphy said he would be very concerned if social restrictions were relaxed before public hospitals were fully prepared and the country had enough personal protective equipment.

Health Minister Greg Hunt on Monday said the aim was to work towards “effective eradication” of the disease.

The federal government has announced an extra $3 million to boost the nationally co-ordinated emergency response to COVID-19.

It is also considering subsidising domestic flights for airlines hammered by the pandemic.

Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham says there are no guarantees international flights will resume by December.

He is encouraging people to take domestic holidays instead once the pandemic subsides.



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