With the Premier of Victoria confirming on Monday that the state has recorded the largest single-day spike in coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, the AMA has called for a pause in easing of nationwide COVID-19 restrictions until Melbourne hotspots are under control.
Despite Deloitte’s forecast that Australia’s fight against the virus has cost 835,000 people their jobs and many thousands of small-business people a lifetime of work, the AMA has said that as businesses open up to more people, the country is becoming increasingly vulnerable to new virus outbreaks.
“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,” said AMA president Dr Tony Bartone in his address of Melbourne’s coronavirus spike.
Dr Bartone noted that returning to normal has to be a gradual and cautious process.
“All our governments are dealing with the enormous challenge of protecting the public health and generating economic activity to protect businesses and jobs — and in an ideal world allow people to return to everyday social activity and interaction in the safest possible environment,” Dr Bartone said.
“But as pubs and restaurants open up to more people, as the restart of elite and community sporting events picks up, and as the return to workplaces for thousands of workers accelerates nationally, the COVID-19 spikes in Melbourne are a warning for all Australians how quickly virus outbreaks can occur anywhere in the country.”
He advised Australians not to rush back to their pre-COVID ways, opining that the “virus will be with us for many months”.
“We must all continue to follow physical distance and hygiene protections, and not become complacent.
“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 hotspots are back under control.”
‘More room to open’
But Deloitte Access Economics’ quarterly Business Outlook report has suggested that Australia’s “relative success” in controlling the virus has given it more room to open.
With Australia opening back up fast, Deloitte has suggested that the recession of the moment may well have already past its worst.
Opining that the virus will soon no longer be “public enemy number one”, Deloitte said that Australia’s new focus needs to be on driving unemployment back to where it was before this crisis began.
Deloitte forecasts the unemployment rate to stand at 8.2 per cent in June next year, equal to 1.13 million people being out of work. The forecast is also sombre for the years ahead, with Deloitte predicting that Australia won’t return to pre-COVID levels until 2023–24.