Elective Surgery Cancelled As PM Sets Up 'Coronavirus Commission'

All non-urgent elective surgeries will be suspended from midnight, Scott Morrison said, as he announced a new national commission to help 'solve problems' during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Wednesday, the prime minister said all elective surgeries other than Category 1 and urgent Category 2 cases will be suspended "until further notice."

State and federal leaders agreed on the advice from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC ) to help to free up capacity in hospitals dealing with the pandemic.

"Cancellation of elective surgery will allow the preservation of resources like personal protective equipment and allow health services to prepare for their role in the COVID-19 outbreak," Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

The indefinite cancellations will apply to both public and private hospitals.

Category 1 refers to urgent cases where “admission is desirable within 30 days” while category 2 cases are “semi urgent’ and require admission within 90 days.

Scott Morrison speaks to the media on Wednesday. Image: 10 News First

Morrison also announced the creation of a national commission that will coordinate advice to the government on managing the economic and social impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

The National COVID-19 Coordination Commission (NCCC) will be led by former Fortescue Minerals boss Neville Power and will bring together leaders across the private and public sectors, including former Labor MP Greg Combet AM, Jane Halton AO and David Thodey AO.

They'll be joined by Cabinet secretary Philip Gaetjens and Home Affairs department secretary Mike Pezzullo.

"This is about working cooperatively across private-to-private and public-to-private networks to unlock resources, break bottlenecks and fix problems so Australian families, businesses and communities are supported through the challenging months ahead," Morrison said.

Coordination Commissioner Neville Power. Image: AAP

The Board will work alongside Chief Medical Officer Dr Brendan Murphy to advise the PM on all non-health aspects of the pandemic response.

"At all times, our actions are guided by the best possible medical advice, while putting the economic and social wellbeing of all Australians front and centre of our response," Morrison said.

It comes after the PM announced a raft of further restrictions and rules to encourage 'social distancing' at a late press conference on Tuesday night.



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