Retail shutdown in next stage of lockdown

TOP doctors who are advising the National Cabinet say the next stage of the lockdown should include prohibiting outdoor gatherings of 10 or more people and closure of "all activities" except essential industries and services, meaning retail shops would also close.

All outdoor sporting events would also need to close if and when the next stage of the lockdown comes into place, under the advice released overnight from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee.

The report from the group that there has been "significant further growth in cases", though returned overseas travellers and small outbreaks associated with them are still the major cause.

"Cases of locally acquired disease with no link to returned travel or a confirmed case are starting to occur in specific geographic regions," the AHPPC report stated.

"Weddings and religious services continue to feature in transmission events."

Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy who heads up the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee. Picture: Lukas Coch/Getty Images)
Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy who heads up the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee. Picture: Lukas Coch/Getty Images)

The AHPPC advice to government said that while the current restrictions prohibited outdoor gatherings of 500 people or more, with social distancing of one person per 4sq m, it recommended this needed to go further.

"AHPPC recommends the cessation of outdoor gatherings, with a limit of no more than 10 persons in a related group in an outdoor gathering. This will entail the closing of funfairs and fetes," the report stated.

The Government is currently only strongly recommending that there be no large gatherings outdoors, including backyard barbecues and parties, urging all Australians to stay at home where possible.

The group stated it was too early to assess the impact of the current social distancing measures.

"The next step, if required, is likely to be a carefully considered closure of all activity except essential industries and services," the report stated.

"All states and territories are in agreement with the above position, except Victoria, who expressed the desire for even stronger measures at this time."

While the death rate remains low, there is an increase in the number of positive tests being returned.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison heads up the National Cabinet which is making decisions on the next stage of the lockdown. Picture: Photo by Sam Mooy/Getty Images
Prime Minister Scott Morrison heads up the National Cabinet which is making decisions on the next stage of the lockdown. Picture: Photo by Sam Mooy/Getty Images

The report follows the meeting of the National Cabinet on Wednesday night, made up of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the state premiers and territory chief ministers.

They were expected to war game the intensive care unit capacity for each state and discuss what the next stage of the lockdown would look like and when the implement it.

 

Originally published as Retail shutdown in next stage of lockdown