Today’s press conference provided an update from Health and Foreign Affairs Ministers on the task of bringing Australians stuck overseas home, the launch of a new coronavirus helpline, and progress on ventilator manufacturing in Australia.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne has given an update on international travel occurring during COVID-19 restrictions.
With ongoing international discussions and regular contact with world leaders and counterparts across the globe, the Government is progressing on bringing Australians back home through a secure agreement with Qantas.
The finalised agreement facilitates flights from Peru, Argentina, South Africa to Australia.
These flights will occur over the next week, with 280 Australians arriving home from Peru today.
Currently there is exploration for similar flights options from other destinations, such as India and the Philippines.
Australians stuck overseas are also encouraged to take available flights back to the country whether or not they are offered by the Government.
The Foreign Affairs Minister also says that 6,400 Australians have safely disembarked 45 cruise ships with Government support and assistance.
The Minister for Health Greg Hunt also elaborated with positive update on COVID-19 cases, noting that numbers continue to decrease and the curve continues to flatten.
With an increase of 96 cases today, it is the first time in three weeks that fewer than 100 people have been added to the growing list of those afflicted with the virus in Australia.
Regardless, he states that we still have a long way to go to safety and urges the public to be careful this weekend during Easter celebrations to not help spread the virus.
He has also announced the launch of Beyond Blue Coronavirus helpline. If you are struggling with mental health issues as a result of Coronavirus, head to coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au/ or call 1800 512 348 for 24/7 support.
The Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth also discussed the successes in containment by providing an update on building capacity of ventilators in hospitals and medical centres.
Australia’s national target of ventilators stands at 7,500, with moves towards onshore manufacturing of ventilators.
He also says that over 12,000 registered nurses have enrolled in upskilling courses.
More to come.
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