Strict measures are currently in place across the country in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus, but at a press conference on Wednesday morning, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Australians that unless a vaccine is found, we shouldn’t expect things to return to normal “anytime soon”.
“It won’t be exactly like it was before. I can’t see international travel occurring anytime soon,” he said. “The risks there are obvious.”
The exception may be travel to New Zealand, where heavy lockdown restrictions were imposed relatively early, curbing widespread community transmission. “We have had some good discussions about that,” said the PM. “But outside of that, [international travel] is unlikely.”
He also said it’s unlikely Australians will be able to attend sporting events or mass gatherings “for a while”.
“I look forward to the time when Australians can travel again within Australia. I look forward to the time where they can sit down for a meal at a restaurant or a cafe or a pub again,” he continued. “I look forward to the time where they can see ... the AFL, the netball, the NRL or whatever code they support, and being able to watch that again.”
The current measures came into effect in stages in March, and include bans on international and domestic travel and mass gatherings; the shuttering of restaurants, pubs and cafes (except for takeaway and delivery service); and the closure of gyms, cinemas, nightclubs and places of worship. Essential services – such as supermarkets, pharmacies, petrol stations, bakeries, bottle shops and butchers – are still operating.
The current advice to the public is to “stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary” (reasons for travel include medical appointments, exercise and shopping for essentials) and to adhere to distancing guidelines at all times.