Economists call for maintaining restrictions in Australia over COVID-19

Sydney, Australia, Apr 20 (efe-epa).- More than 170 economists asked the Australian government Monday to maintain the social restriction measures imposed to stop the spread of COVID-19 despite the effects it has on the local economy.

Health authorities have so far confirmed more than 6,600 infections of COVID-19, including 71 deaths, although new infections have dropped to below 50 a day for a week.

The letter, dated Sunday and published Monday said it was not possible to make the economy work unless the public health crisis was first addressed, adding that the measures imposed have placed Australia in an enviable position in comparison to other countries.

Economists at the country’s top universities believe social distancing measures should be maintained until infections are low, testing capacity is expanded, and technology is available to track the contacts of those infected.

The economists said in their letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his cabinet that a second wave of outbreaks would be extremely damaging to the economy, in addition to the unnecessary loss of life.

The letter was written after Morrison said that the restrictions imposed by the pandemic would last for 4 weeks, while the economic ones will continue for half a year, without ruling out that measures of social distance between people could last for a year.

Morrison also announced last week that his government is working on an exit plan for the economic crisis following the pandemic.

In total, the Australian government has set aside AUD 320 billion (USD 203 billion) in plans to support the economy. EFE-EPA


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