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PM to share Australia’s COVID plan with Biden

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will provide Joe Biden with Australia’s National Contact Tracing Review, saying the US President-elect is “very interested in Australia’s success”. National Cabinet received Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s review of the nation’s coronavirus contact tracing systems, before reaffirming an aim to reopen the country by Christmas. Western Australia was the only state…

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will provide Joe Biden with Australia’s National Contact Tracing Review, saying the US President-elect is “very interested in Australia’s success”.

National Cabinet received Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s review of the nation’s coronavirus contact tracing systems, before reaffirming an aim to reopen the country by Christmas. Western Australia was the only state to reject the timetable.

Mr Morrison says the plan “embeds public health metrics in ensuring that when Australia opens safely, it remains open safely”.

And following his first conversation with Mr Biden since his election, the Prime Minister says the review will be provided to the incoming administration.

“He was very interested in Australia’s success. And it’s obviously the top of his priority list”, Mr Morrison said.

Just two days after his election, Mr Biden announced the establishment of a COVID-19 advisory board. The US has reported more than 100 thousand cases per day over the past week.

Mr Morrison says he is prepared to share Australia’s learnings with the Trump administration, but was specifically invited to do so by Mr Biden.

“I wish him all the best. I wish President Trump all the best in dealing with what is just an awful situation there”, Mr Morrison told reporters.

“While I am not able to get on a plane and go there, Dr Finkel and his colleagues would be able to assist, whoever, wherever they are to learn from Australia’s experience”.

Dr Finkel says “the overriding conclusion from our report is that there is good reason to be confident in the contact tracing and outbreak management systems in Australia” but cautioned the country “cannot afford to rest on its laurels”.

The report recommends a “light touch” plan for data sharing, including a means of digitally exchanging contact tracing information between the states and territories.

Implementing the recommendations would move Australia’s tracing systems “from good to great”, Dr Finkel said.

But he warned that “as we go to a more mobile society, and a fully active economy, (states and territories) need to be confident that they can share information about people who are travelling from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. At the moment the problem is not manifest, we don’t have a serious issue. But we need to be preparing”.

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