Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been labelled “gold standard” by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
Mr Gates, who has dedicated billions of dollars to vaccine research, has warned for months of a new pandemic looming on the horizon.
He warned the annual Munich Security Conference last week a future outbreak would likely require much stricter policies in its early days than how most of the world reacted to COVID-19.
“If every country does what Australia did, then you wouldn’t be calling [the next outbreak] a pandemic,” Mr Gates said.
Meanwhile, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet believes the removal of masks in his state and others will help spur economic activity and job creation in Australia’s cities.
COVID-19 mask mandates were lifted and dance floors reopened across the eastern states from Friday. Face coverings are still required in NSW, Victoria and the ACT in high-risk settings such as public transport, aged care facilities, airports and hospitals.
“We’ve seen a strong return to activity in the city and that’s incredibly important because when Sydney goes well, the state and the country goes well off the back of it,” Mr Perrottet said on Sunday.
“With face masks being removed for the office, I think we will see a lot more people return to the city tomorrow … as people return to work, that’s incredibly important and that will spur economic activity and jobs in our cities.”
There are exceptions for some school students in Victoria and the ACT, who will still have to keep their masks on for now, while Queensland will ease mask rules and density limits this week.
Mandates remain in Western Australia, Tasmania, South Australia and the Northern Territory.
However, the impact – if any – of these eased restrictions is yet to be reflected in the daily infection counts.
NSW added 6014 infections to its caseload on Sunday, with another seven deaths.
Victoria had 5052 infections and 17 deaths, while in the ACT there were 495 cases.
In Queensland there were 3571 cases and one death, in SA 1476 infections and two deaths.
Tasmania had 676 cases, the NT 368 and WA 1027.