News Coronavirus Doctors call for nationwide pause on lifting virus restrictions
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Doctors call for nationwide pause on lifting virus restrictions

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Doctors are calling for a nationwide pause on lifting coronavirus restrictions as Victoria battles an outbreak that has put the country on edge.

Australian Medical Association (AMA) president Dr Tony Bartone said the Victorian situation proved other states should rethink the pace of easing their COVID-19 restrictions.

“Before rushing back to the pub, the footy crowds, or the big weddings and parties, Australia should pause and play it safe,” Dr Bartone said.

It comes as Victoria recorded 127 new infections on Monday, the highest daily increase to date, and the death of a man in his 90s.

The border between NSW and Victoria will also be closed from Tuesday night to contain any further interstate spread.

Dr Bartone told the ABC that as restrictions were lifting, people were becoming complacent about hygiene and social distancing, which could leave states in the same worrying situation as Victoria.

He called for a “sensible and necessary pause” and to watch the outcome of the current measures in Victoria as it tries to curb the outbreaks in Melbourne hotspots.

“We’re at a very important juncture, clearly. The next week or two will be critical in understanding how the response to those measures is actually coming out and whether we’re able to go back to some sort of certainty about progressing forward,” he said.

He said there appeared to be a “competitive tension” to be the first state to get back to full pre-COVID ways which could risk more outbreaks.

“That sort of pressure, that sort of anxiety to get back to pre-COVID normal behaviour has seen things like we saw on the weekend, the Queensland night clubs, with social distancing.

“It went right out the window and if we forget all those measures, all the advice from the public health authorities and medical authorities… if we become complacent, we will see what is happening in Victoria happen in other parts of the country.”

The resurgence in Victoria has worried other states, leading to bans on Victorians from hotspots entering some states, with the Northern Territory planning to do the same from July 17.

All international flights are being diverted from Victoria while the troubled hotel quarantine program is put on hold for a fortnight.

-with AAP