Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will today warn the public that ignoring Covid-19 prevention measures could see lockdown restrictions return at a cost of billions of dollars per week. In a formal address to federal parliament on the day he was due to release the now-delayed 2020-21 budget, Frydenberg will reveal Treasury estimates of a cost of $1.4 billion a week to New South Wales and $1 billion to Victoria, reports The Age, if the states had to reimpose restrictions that are beginning to ease. Health experts have warned SBS News that second waves of the virus in Germany and South Korea after restrictions were relaxed are a cautionary tale for Australia. Analysis by KPMG to be released today finds that arts and recreation services, retail trade, air transport and the accommodation and cafe sector will take until 2022 to fully recover from the restrictions.
A report by energy analyst Hugh Saddler finds that reduced economic activity over a five-week period of Australia’s lockdown is likely to have only cut carbon emissions from the national energy grid by only 1 per cent compared with previous years, according to Guardian Australia. Saddler, an honorary associate professor at the Australian National University’s Crawford School of Public Policy, said energy-hungry mining and manufacturing operations had mostly stayed open, with air-conditioning and lighting continuing to run in shopping centres, offices and hotels despite fewer people using them.
The Coalition party room will meet today by telephone conference call, with Liberal backbenchers calling for the return of mutual obligation rules as the start of cutting back the cost of the JobKeeper wage subsidy of $1500 per fortnight for those in work and the JobSeeker payment of $1100 per fortnight for the unemployed. Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared it "premature" on Monday to change the scheme, although signalled it could be adjusted. Labor leader Anthony Albanese warned on Monday casual workers and skilled foreign workers on visas were missing out on assistance as they were not covered by the JobKeeper scheme.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has eased the country’s lockdown despite Covid-19 infections surging by more than 10,000 per day, with the country recording the third highest number of cases globally at 221,344, reports The Moscow Times. Analysis by The Financial Times finds Russia’s death toll could 70 per cent higher than the official total of 2009, with Moscow and St Petersburg recording 2073 more deaths in April relative to the historical average, yet official Covid-19 deaths in the two cities came to just 629 for the same period. The findings reinforce concerns of a cover-up in Russia, with three medical workers, two of them critical over the country’s Covid-19 response, falling out of windows in recent weeks. Meanwhile in Hong Kong, local police say they arrested 230 people taking part in the weekend’s pro-democracy protests. Chief executive Carrie Lam has promised to reform the city’s education system, arguing its liberal studies curriculum helped fuel last year’s demonstrations.