Australia is rapidly ridding itself of restrictions and hopeful of being fully open by Christmas.
But it’s also emerging from virus-induced economic disaster after being plunged into its first recession in almost three decades.
Now, the Australian economy has posted its biggest quarterly expansion since 1976, rebounding by 3.3 per cent in the September quarter.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says the latest national accounts, which were released on Wednesday, should give Australians “optimism and hope” despite annual growth still being down 3.8 per cent.
“Australia’s recession may be over but Australia’s economic recovery is not,” he told reporters.
“There is a lot of ground to make up and many Australian households and many Australian businesses are doing it tough – very tough.”
Better than expected
Yet the situation is better than expected.
The news came as Australia went without reporting a locally acquired infection on Wednesday and more states foreshadowed easing restrictions.
NSW will enter a new summer normal, lifting a tranche of restrictions on Monday including changing the social distancing recommendation.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet labelled Wednesday “freedom day” and said the relaxed limits would inject millions of dollars into the economy.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is also preparing to unveil his latest round of rule changes on Sunday to sure up the summer outlook.
The state has now gone 33 days without a case, although authorities have issued a fresh testing call after a positive wastewater sample was detected at Colac.
But Testing Commander Jeroen Weimar revealed on Wednesday a COVID-shedding man who returned to the regional town is likely to be the source.
South Australia’s Parafield cluster remains at 33 cases, as it emerged police would not lay any criminal charges over misinformation which sparked the state’s short-lived lockdown last month.
An investigation into a man who initially told contract tracers he visited an Adelaide pizza shop linked to a cluster when he actually worked there only produced “limited evidence”.
“Based on that advice, no criminal charge will be laid by the task force investigators against the male at the centre of the investigation,” Assistant Commissioner Peter Harvey said.
All 11 new cases of coronavirus reported on Wednesday were among overseas travellers in hotel quarantine in NSW (six), Queensland (three) and WA (two).