Australia Invited To Join Exclusive 'First Movers Covid Group' As Restrictions Set To Ease
Australia is among a small group of countries that responded quickly to the coronavirus outbreak and are now in a place where they can get their economies back to some type of normality.
Called 'First Movers COVID Group' by Austria, member countries include Denmark, Norway, Greece, the Czech Republic, Israel, and Singapore.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison met via videoconference with the group's leaders on Thursday night, before Friday's crucial national cabinet meeting with Australia's premiers and chief ministers.
Australia has the second-lowest number of Covid-19 cases in the group, behind Greece.
Austria was one of the standout countries in dealing with the virus, with the European nation one of the first to go into lockdown and then reverse the restrictions.
At the end of the meeting, Morrison thanked Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz for hosting the discussion, in which leaders swapped notes and talked about the need to reopen economies safely.
Topics included the reopening of schools, how to manage localised outbreaks, the importance of rigorous tracing and testing, and scientific co-operation.
The other leaders said they were aware of the quick uptake of Australia's CovidSAFE app.
Morrison has frequently hailed the work of Singapore and borrowed its idea of a mobile phone app to more effectively allow health "detectives" to trace the contacts of people who have the virus.
The prime minister has been lobbying global leaders to support a motion to go to the World Health Assembly in mid-May calling for an investigation into Covid-19, to enable a better response to future pandemics.
The leaders will meet again next week.