Australia has reportedly confirmed that a gradual slowdown in the rate of the novel coronavirus cases has been noticed as of March 31. The health officials, however, maintained that despite the declining trend people have to be complacent with the lockdown protocols and social distancing. They warned that further strict social distancing measures might be needed to flatten to the curve, as per the media reports.
The state authorities declared that those flouting the quarantine measures with be imposed with hefty fines and potential prison terms. All non-essential movements across Australia remain restricted, and the public facilities shuttered to combat the disease spread, confirmed media reports. No assembly of more than 2 people is allowed.
Health Minister of Australia, Greg Hunt, said in a televised news conference that there was a decline in the growth of cases by 25 to 30 per cent over the last week, an average of 9 per cent for the past three consecutive days. The latest confirmed cases of the COVID-19 in Australia stand at 4,557, as only 97 new cases have emerged so far, out of which, 50 patients were in the Intensive Care Unit, while 20 on ventilators. At least 19 fatalities have been recorded from the deadly disease so far, Hunt said.
An infectious disease physician and microbiologist at Canberra Hospital, Peter Collignon, was quoted saying by a news agency that Australia had imposed the social distancing measures early on, compared with the other countries. This could be accounted for the slump in numbers. Lockdown was imposed at the initial stages of the outbreak, he added. The country acted much faster than the US or Italy and has witnessed low community spread. Collignon also told the news agency that the country sealed borders, and banned all non-essential movements in a drastic measure at the appropriate time, however, there might be an “element of luck” in the trend as well, he was quoted as saying.
According to media reports, Australia has introduced a fine of up to $6,779 for defying lockdown protocols, the potential six-month prison term, and the installation of electronic tracking devices, in case anyone was caught violating the movement ban.