The ban on elective surgery will start to be lifted next week as Scott Morrison declared Australia had reached a turning point in the fight against the coronavirus.

Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe said it was not implausible that restrictions would “begin to be progressively lessened by around the middle of the year and are mostly removed by late in the year, perhaps with restrictions on international travel”.
But Mr Morrison and Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy cautioned that for the next three weeks, the current restrictions must stay in place and beyond that, there can be no rush to resume life as normal.
Singapore had rushed to ease restrictions and was now fighting a second wave of the virus.
“Singapore now has, sadly, more cases than Australia after some very strong early successes,” he said.
It was a reminder that if it could happen to a country as “diligent and careful as Singapore has been” not to be complacent about the virus.
“We are on the road back. We want to stay on the road back.”
Despite predictions a month ago from government critics that Australia was on track to rival Italy in terms of having tens of thousands of cases and many deaths, Australia is currently among the best in the world at combating the spread.
The rate of spread is consistently lower than 1 per cent. There have been just over 6600 infections and two-thirds of those have recovered. There have been a total of 71 deaths.
Mr Morrison repeated that should three key criteria be met, more restrictions could start to be lifted in three weeks. These were a boosted testing regime so people without symptoms could be tested, a health system capable of stamping out outbreaks, and an enhanced system of contact tracing.
The latter will be helped by the adoption of a mobile phone app which enables authorities to immediately contact anyone who has been in close proximity of a coronavirus case.
The government is still battling privacy concerns and Mr Morrison again urged as many people as possible to download the app, which is days away from release.
The National Cabinet, which comprises the Prime Minister and state and territory leaders, also had strong words for aged care operators who had gone further in terms of restrictions than officially recommended. This has resulted in some cases of the elderly being locked down and having no contact with loved ones.
“It is not acceptable, fair or compassionate for any residential aged care facilities to ban visits from carers and families,” the leaders said in a statement.