'It could all come undone': PM's tough coronavirus warning about Easter weekend

Scott Morrison has urged all Australians to “stay home” for the Easter weekend amid the country’s coronavirus restrictions.

“Failure to do so this weekend would completely undo everything we’ve achieved so far together, or potentially worse,” he said.

"We are on the right track, controlling the spread, building the capacity of our health system and buying time.

"We must continue to do what we are doing. That's how we will get through it.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media during a press conference on Tuesday. Source: AAP

More than 5800 people have coronavirus in Australia and 46 people have died so far.

But the rate of new infections has dropped to an average of three per cent.

Mr Morrison said on Tuesday the decrease has been “well beyond our expectations.”

“It’s ahead of what the models suggested. But we must hold the course.

“It is providing us with much-needed time. We have so far avoided the horror scenarios we have sen overseas.”

Under the government’s social distancing restrictions introduced over the past few weeks, Australians are only allowed to leave their homes for essential reasons such as grocery shopping, exercise or work.

No more than two people are allowed to meet in public, barring family members or household members. Fines have been implemented for those who defy please to stay home.

Tourists on the grass at Bondi Beach in Sydney. Source: AAP

The NSW Government said there are only 16 reasons people can leave their house.

Health authorities say the slowdown in the rate of new cases each day shows the restrictions on daily life and social distancing measures have successfully flattened the curve.

But they are cautious about the rate spiking again.

Governments are concerned that people will be tempted to breach restrictions on movements and social distancing rules over the coming Easter weekend.

Younger people, in particular, have been warned about being complacent, given that people aged in their 30s are among the worst-affected patients.

Australia's Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy details the modelling. Source: AAP

‘The tools we are using do work’

Professor Brendan Murphy, the chief health officer, introduced a series of models during on Tuesday looking at the rate of the coronavirus infection in different environments - such as a lockdown or no restrictions at all. 

Prof Murphy and Mr Morrison stressed repeatedly the data was taken from countries overseas and does not predict what will happen in Australia. The models will be published online later on Tuesday.

The most important message from these models is that we know the tools we are using do work and we can scale them up and down as necessary,” Prof Murphy said.

The chief health officer said Australian-based data is being put together.

“In the next week to 10 days we'll have much better trend data,” he said. 

Mr Morrison said the models did not help officials pin down an end date to the social restrictions. 

“There is no map for this, we're in uncharted territory. There won't be one issue that determines that. The National Cabinet will look at all the information that is coming through, and some states might be in position to move when others are not. And we'll learn from those that have trialled things,” he said. 

with AAP

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