[EPA]Australian Federal Treasurer addresses nation's economic performance
[EPA]Australian Federal Treasurer addresses nation's economic performance

Australia’s Treasurer has shot down calls from business leaders for the government to lift social distancing measures.

Josh Frydenberg said on Thursday that restrictions on gatherings introduced to slow the spread of COVID-19 will only be lifted if the medical advice allows it.

He told business leaders to look at the parts of the economy that are continuing to thrive despite the pandemic.

“We’ve got to be guided by the medical advice … the advice has served us well and we need to continue to take that advice,” he told Nine Entertainment radio.

“Not all aspects of the economy have been equally hit. Mining continues to go well, parts of the manufacturing sector are strong, we’ve obviously seen construction continue, and the supermarkets and pharmacies have never had it so good.”

It comes after Richard Goyder, the chairman of Qantas and Woodside Petroleum, made the economic case for a swifter relaxing of restrictions in a newspaper column published by News Corp Australia on Thursday.

He said that Australians must prepare to re-open the economy before a vaccine for COVID-19 can be rolled out, arguing that more businesses would fail the longer the shutdown lasts.

The spread of COVID-19 in Australia has slowed significantly, with the growth rate of confirmed cases dropping below 3 percent in recent days.

“It can’t be you’ve got to stay at home for the rest of your life,” Goyder wrote.

“If we don’t get a vaccine or we won’t get one for some time, then we are going to have to work our way through this without destroying the economy.

“With a very strong proviso that I don’t have the medical background – the PM and national cabinet have done a really good job – but six months feels too long to me.” Enditem

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