Australia admits coronavirus lockdown may last a YEAR despite having just 63 deaths

AUSTRALIA is thinking of extending its lockdown to a YEAR  – despite suffering just 63 coronavirus deaths.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned life 'down under' could be constrained for 12 more months because of the deadly pandemic.

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The move would be in stark contrast to the three week extension announced by Dominic Raab for the UK  – which has been rocked by 14,576 fatalities.

And some see the proposal as a sign other countries may also be thinking of very lengthy lockdowns.

Australia has so far escaped the high numbers of casualties reported around the world after closing its borders and imposing strict "social distancing" measures for the past month.

Restaurants, bars and other "non-essential" businesses have closed and public gatherings of more than two people are banned under the threat of fines and even prison.

In response, the daily growth rate of reported new infections has steadied in the low percentage single digits, from about 25 per cent several weeks ago.

There are now a total of about 6,500 infections which includes the 63 deaths.

Mr Morrison said some measures, like the rule requiring people to stand at least 1.5 metres apart, would likely remain for several months, given there was no guarantee a vaccine would be developed in that time.

"Social distancing is something we should get very used to," he told radio station 3AW. "It could be a year, but I'm not speculating about that."

"Certainly while the virus is prevalent across the world (the 1.5 metre rule) should be a natural instinct."

The country's most populous state is currently mulling about sending children to school in shifts.

"We are considering our options around a rostering system which will have some students go back on a particular day to increase that level of face-to-face," New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters on Friday.

"The alternative is that unfortunately students could face up to a year or longer at home and we don't that's appropriate," she added.

Minister in Australia have have already refused to rule out keeping travel restrictions in place until 2021- meaning a ban on tourism.

Citizens are being advised to plan vacations in their own country when the crisis is over, instead of booking a trip to somewhere more exotic.

Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said earlier this week:  "It is impossible to tell at present precisely when travel restrictions will be removed because that will be a matter dependent upon the health advice at the time.

"The international travel restrictions have played a key role (in stopping COVID-19's spread) and will continue to play a key role.

"The only people returning to Australia at present or entering the country are effectively those Australians receiving assistance through a range of different ways or undertaking their own flights to get back to Australia."


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