Australia has ranked among the top of 14 advanced economies on its handling of the coronavirus in a global survey of citizens.
An overwhelming 94 per cent of Australians thought their country handled the pandemic well, with only Denmark having a better result with 95 per cent.
The USA and UK both ranked dead last, with more than 50 per cent of people in those virus-plagued nations saying their country had handled COVID poorly.
The Pew Research Center survey was conducted from June 10 to August 3 with the most satisfied countries ranked as follows:
Denmark (95 per cent), Australia, (94 per cent), Canada (88 per cent), Germany (88 per cent), Netherlands (87 per cent), South Korea (86 per cent), Italy (74 per cent), Sweden (71 per cent), Belgium (61 per cent), France (59 per cent), Japan (55 per cent), Spain (54 per cent), USA (47 per cent), UK (46 per cent).
The pandemic was also found to have a divisive effect on national unity, with 77 per cent of Americans saying their country is further divided than before the pandemic.
Fifty-four per cent of Australians said their country was more united while 53 per cent of Australians said their lives had not changed much since the global outbreak.
The survey comes as A Roy Morgan poll released on Thursday showed that a large majority of Victorians support government restrictions such as mandatory mask wearing and Melbourne’s 8pm-5am curfew.
But Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has warned that infection numbers must drop to pre-July levels before he will outline an exit plan for lockdown.
While the state had 23 deaths on Thursday, the daily case numbers dropped to 113 and it has been below 150 for the past four days.
Thursday’s figure was the lowest since the July 5 tally of 74 – also the last time that it was below 100.
There were 124 new cases in Australia on Thursday – with nine in NSW and two in Queensland.
Most key statistics are showing that the worst of Victoria’s second outbreak is over and there is growing anticipation about how the government will ease current restrictions.
Melbourne’s stage-four lockdown and the stage-three rules for regional Victoria are due to end on September 13.
“At 100-plus cases a day, we cannot open up right now,” Mr Andrews said.
“As painful and as challenging as this is, I think (Victorians) understand that fact.
“That’s why we’re working as hard as we possibly can to drive the numbers down further. Once we achieve that, we will be able to outline clear plans.”
The Prime Minister wants states to “remove barriers” as the issue of border closures returns to the fore.
The impact of coronavirus border closures on regional Australians is expected to be Scott Morrison’s key focus at a bush summit in southern NSW on Friday.
The prime minister has hinted at an announcement at the event, which will bring together politicians, rural leaders and farmers in Cooma.
Mr Morrison said people should know when border restrictions can be lifted so they can get on with their lives.
“It is important that we continue to remove barriers where they’re not necessary, and where there are barriers, we have the most sensible, practical and time-limited arrangements,” he told reporters in Canberra.
It comes as people living or working 40 kilometres each side of the South Australia-Victoria border will be allowed to come and go from Friday, but will be subject to regular COVID-19 testing.