Coronavirus Australia: AMA calls for freeze on lifting restrictions


The Australian Medical Association (AMA) is calling for a temporary halt to the easing of coronavirus restrictions across all states and territories.

The warning comes after Victoria recorded 108 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, marking its second largest daily spike since the virus emerged.

AMA president Dr Tony Bartone said Victoria’s second wave should serve as a stark reminder that the battle against coronavirus is far from over.

“These new outbreaks send a strong signal that the other states should rethink the pace of easing of their COVID-19 restrictions until community transmission in Melbourne is under control to avoid the risk of a similar situation playing out in their own communities,” Dr Bartone said.

“We all want to get our lives back to normal, but it has to be a gradual and cautious process – and it must be with strict adherence to the medical advice and public health guidelines.”

The rapid climb of cases in Melbourne triggered strict stay-at-home orders for two new postcodes, Flemington and North Melbourne, while a hard lockdown was imposed on nine public housing towers that are home to more than 3000 people.

Dr Bartone recognised governments want to generate economic activity but warned lifting restrictions now could trigger another outbreak “anywhere in the country” because people were simply not following the rules.

The AMA is calling for a temporary halt to the easing of coronavirus restrictions across all states and territories. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Valeriu Campan
media_cameraThe AMA is calling for a temporary halt to the easing of coronavirus restrictions across all states and territories. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Valeriu Campan

“It is a stark reality check of how rapidly things can change. The disappointing reality is that the problems in Melbourne’s hot spots are directly linked to failures to follow established and successful public health guidelines,” he said.

“Against the expert medical advice, we have seen a range of failures relating to family and social events not following physical distance requirements, numerous quarantine breaches, and the irresponsible actions from elite sportsmen.”

Ninety-four new cases of COVID-19 were recorded across Australia on Sunday. Victoria was responsible for 74 of those cases, the other 20 were returned travellers in hotel quarantine.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said he wouldn’t rule out locking down more postcodes if the situation continued to spiral out of control.

The Premier said it was likely numbers would continue to climb over the next few days as all tower residents were tested.

“You can’t go and test 3000 people in such a focused and concentrated way and not have numbers go up,” he said.

Dr Bartone said the virus was clearly going to be with us for many months and encouraged Australians not to become complacent.

Community sport has resumed across NSW as COVID-19 restrictions ease. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jeremy Piper
media_cameraCommunity sport has resumed across NSW as COVID-19 restrictions ease. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jeremy Piper

“We all can and must do better. Australians should not rush back to pre-COVID ways. We have to do more to protect ourselves and each other,” he said.

“Before rushing back to the pub, the footy crowds, or the big weddings and parties, Australia should pause and play it safe until the Melbourne hot spots are back under control.”

Victorian AFL clubs have either already set up shop in hubs across NSW and Queensland or are expected to depart the virus-stricken state today or tomorrow.

The South Australia’s border remains closed to Victorians, while Queensland will open to all states except Victoria on July 10.

Victorians from coronavirus hot spots found entering NSW could be hit with an $11,000 fine or six months behind bars.

Originally published as Plea to stop all virus relaxations



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