PM warns Australians risk of virus remains
Scott Morrison has urged Australians to remain vigilant in the fight against the coronavirus after eased business restrictions sparked crowds at shops.
The prime minister says the health implications of easing some restrictions would be tested, as states relax rules designed to curb the disease.
"Australians have to remain on their guard," he said on Monday.
Mr Morrison said suggesting the virus had been beaten because economic clamps were being lifted was dangerous.
Images of crowds at shopping centres emerged over the weekend.
"The virus is still out there - it hasn't gone anywhere," Mr Morrison said.
"There may be 700 or so active cases in Australia now, but Australia is still very much at risk."
More than 5.5 million people have downloaded the coronavirus contact tracing app.
Disease detectives finished training for the technology on Monday, paving the way for collected data to be officially used in coming days.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd urged Australians to maintain good hand hygiene and stick to social distancing measures.
"If you see a crowd, please go in the other direction," he said.
Professor Kidd warned against complacency, with the coronavirus remaining active.
"We have very serious risks if overcrowding starts to occur," he said.
Victoria is the latest state to relax coronavirus rules, with home visits of up to five people to be allowed from Tuesday.
Mr Morrison welcomed the move, but stressed the states would move at their own pace in lifting restrictions.
Tasmanians are now able to visit aged care facilities and national parks and reserves within 30 kilometres of their home for exercise.
South Australian pubs and restaurants may be allowed to host more patrons from June as the state edges towards no active coronavirus cases.
A total of 6179 people have recovered from the coronavirus in Australia, leaving fewer than 800 active cases, while 97 have died.
Mr Morrison also downplayed suggestions the $130 billion JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme could be scaled back or scrapped ahead of its six-month life.
Last week, he pointed to a review of the program in June, but on Monday said talk of changes was premature.
"We are six weeks into a six-month program," the prime minister said.
"The impact of the virus, how it will impact on Australia in the months ahead with a reopening economy is very much a work in progress. That's why we put this six-month lifeline in place."
He said getting people back to work and businesses open again was paramount.
"When that happens, there will be no need for those levels of income support."
Deloitte economist Chris Richardson expects the coronavirus to plunge Australia's budget $143 billion into deficit this financial year.
Mr Morrison said the government was conscious of the burdens placed on current and future taxpayers in dealing with the disease.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese described the crisis as a once-in-a-generation chance for economic reform, calling for an end to insecure work and job seekers living in poverty.