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We'll stop second virus wave: health chief


Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly (pictured) says if another outbreak occurs, Australia will have a detailed response to deal with the disease (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

Australia's health authorities are confident the country can fight off a potential second wave of coronavirus when restrictions are eased.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has flagged a national cabinet meeting with state and territory leaders in mid-May as crucial to lifting some social and economic clamps.

Australia's death toll sits at 91 after an 86-year-old died in Tasmania's northwest on Wednesday.

More than 5600 of the 6746 people diagnosed with coronavirus nationally have recovered.

A parliamentary committee will on Thursday hear evidence from government departments about the rollout of billions of dollars worth of support payments.

Labor has concerns about what will happen when the pandemic is contained and boosted payments are withdrawn.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly says if another outbreak occurs, Australia will have a detailed response to deal with the disease.

"If a second wave does occur, we'll deal with it quickly and we'll respond to it," he said.

Infection rates have grown overseas after strict lockdown measures were lifted, with Germany the latest example after easing rules last week.

But Mr Morrison is adamant Australia can lift restrictions in a safe way.

"Of course, there will be outbreaks. That is what living with the virus will be like," he said.

"That is why the protections that we put in place for a COVID-safe Australia are so important."

Testing, contract tracing and quick, effective responses to outbreaks are considered key benchmarks in edging back towards normal life.

There are 10 million new testing kits set to flood into Australia, giving authorities scope to screen people in a targeted but more widespread way.

The COVIDSafe tracing app has been downloaded by almost three million Australians, putting it on course to achieve an effective take-up rate.

Health authorities are also confident there is capacity within intensive care units to treat outbreaks of the disease.

May 11 is shaping up to be a key date for reviewing restrictions.

"There will be many announcements about changes in the way we'll be living our lives and hopefully getting back to some sort of new normality in living in a COVID-19-safe society," Professor Kelly said.

Australian manufacturers will receive almost $50 million in federal funding to help create new jobs during the pandemic.

A new production line is being bankrolled in South Australia to bring the Polly Waffle chocolate bar back to life.

Aged care providers are crying out for more government funding to help them survive the crisis.

Peak industry bodies say they are receiving an average of $2 per resident each day, which is not enough to keep them safe.

The national cabinet will meet on Friday to work out guidelines for elite and community sport to return as debate continues over the AFL and NRL restarting.

The meeting of state and federal leaders will also look at the expanded testing regime to be conducted with the new kits.

© AAP 2020

Tags: Coronavirus