Avoid crowds to hamper coronavirus spread

crowds of people in the shopping street with camera made blur effect


Australians have been warned mingling in groups or abandoning social distancing measures could spark fresh coronavirus outbreaks.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd said complacency could cause major problems as state governments gradually ease restrictions on the economy and society.

Health officials have been concerned after images emerged of thousands flocking to shopping centres after restrictions on non-essential retail were lifted in some states.

Professor Kidd said a strong commitment to staying 1.5 metres away from other people needed to be maintained.

Hand hygiene and people with symptoms staying home are also crucial to stopping the spread of the disease.

Parliament will sit on Tuesday for three days, with the treasurer to provide an economic update.

The government says the economy could grow by $9.4 billion each month once all states have reached the third stage of reopening.

Trade Minister Simon Birmingham says shutting the economy for too long gives rise to health implications other than coronavirus, such as mental illness and domestic violence.

"We can't just see this as a binary trade-off that it's the economy or health," he told the ABC on Tuesday.

"We need to have a healthy country, which means people are in jobs, people are in schools, people are earning incomes and contributing to society."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has downplayed speculation the government's $1500 fortnightly wage subsidies could be scaled back or scrapped early.

The JobKeeper program is legislated to run for six months but faces a review in June.

"We are six weeks into a six-month program," Mr Morrison said.

"The impact of the virus, how it will impact on Australia in the months ahead with a reopening economy is very much a work in progress. That's why we've put this six-month lifeline in place."

Federal government will also use the sitting week to pass laws creating harsh penalties for data breaches surrounding the COVIDSafe app.

More than 5.5 million people have downloaded and registered for the contact tracing program.

Disease detectives completed training on Monday, paving the way for them to start using the data to help trace infections.

Early access to superannuation has been restored after the government paused the program because of fraud concerns.

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