Good morning beloved readers, I hope these missives find you well. Ben Doherty at Guardian HQ (this morning, the quietest room in my noisy, noisy house). I’ll be with you this morning.
Friday was a signal day in Australia’s fight against Sars-Cov-2. The federal and state governments outlined a three-stage roadmap to recovery.
Restrictions will be lifted in phases, over four-week blocks, with the final phase likely to be implemented by July. But different states will move at different times with some, at the moment notably the Northern Territory and Western Australia, significantly ahead of eastern seaboard states, NSW and Victoria in particular.
The decision when to move on easing restrictions rests with state premiers and territory chief ministers.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the plan would get 850,000 people back to work when fully implemented.
“You can stay under the doona forever and you’ll never face any danger. But we’ve got to get out from under the doona at some time,” he said.
“If not now, well, then when?”
Victorian premier DanAndrews will not lift any restrictions until at least Monday, refusing to apologise for his hardline approach.
“This is a pandemic, this is not a popularity contest,” he said.
NSW is also cautious, holding off on any announcements, while NT, WA and SA have moved to adopt many of the stage one measures from the national cabinet guidelines.
From this morning, gatherings of up to ten people are allowed in the ACT, Queensland and in South Australia.
Tasmania is easing restrictions gradually from next week, but Queensland is moving more rapidly to allow dining in pubs and clubs for 10 people at a time from May 16.
Queensland has also lifted restrictions around households visiting others – in time for Mothers’ Day – with up to five people from a single household visiting another household.
There have been 6,900 confirmed cases in Australia, 97 people have died.
Daily infection rates remain low and there are fewer than 1,000 active cases.
Chief medical officer Dr Brendan Murphy is urging people to maintain physical distancing and good hygiene to stop further outbreaks.
“Please, keep that distancing. We could lose the battle that we have won so well so far,” he said.
Please be in touch throughout the day, @BenDohertyCorro on twitter. I’ll endeavour to keep you updated on developments, here and abroad.
Be well, enjoy your weekends, but stay safe.