Western Australia may lift coronavirus restrictions first as PM flags exit strategy

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has flagged an easing of social distancing restrictions in four weeks after meeting with the National Cabinet yesterday.

“We want to be very clear with Australians, baseline restrictions we have in place at the moment there are no plans to change those for the next four weeks,” he said.

But states and territories that have imposed their own additional measures and police enforcement may choose to loosen restrictions over the coming weeks.

“They will make their own decisions whether they want to change any of those arrangement on their own circumstances,” Morrison said.

“I would refer you to individual states and territories where they may choose to do that over the next three weeks.”

Western Australia is among the first considering lifting its Covid-19 restrictions within weeks and allow social gatherings, schools and businesses to go back to normal.

The state has the second lowest number of Covid-19 cases in Australia, with only five new cases registered on Wednesday.

Premier Mark McGowan said the state had “driven it down to being nearly non-existent”.

“We’ve got to work out how we get our economy back up,” he said.

“You’re just constantly looking at what the angles are, what the options are, what the potential pitfalls are.

“But it’s a very serious game of chess because people’s health is at risk.”

Curtin University epidemiologist and pro-vice chancellor of health sciences Archie Clements said a phased approach to relaxing restrictions was most likely.

“That will be things like rather than having businesses closed, they might reopen things like restaurants but with a lower density of patrons,” he told Daily Mail Australia.

“They might allow small community events to take place. And then I think it will be allowing things like schools to go back, and I’m hoping that will be sooner rather than later.

“All in all, we’ve probably avoided the worst of the epidemic and I think with the current numbers it’s likely that the epidemic will peter out in WA.”