page headers Coronavirus

Surgery restarts as coronavirus cases drop


Surgery restarts as coronavirus cases drop (Unsplash)

Hospitals will recommence elective surgeries postponed because of coronavirus as the rate of new infections continues to drop.

More than 1.13 million people have also downloaded a coronavirus tracing app within 12 hours of its release.

The federal government thought it would take five days to reach a million downloads.

Called COVIDSafe, the voluntary app will play a key role in easing restrictions, along with increased testing.

Health Minister Greg Hunt has warned the battle against the virus is not yet won.

The national death toll has reached 83 and Australia has recorded more than 6700 infections.

However, 80 per cent of people who have caught the disease have fully recovered.

Labor's health spokesman Chris Bowen said social and business trading restrictions should only be eased when it is safe to do so.

"If you are rash then you'll see a second wave and you'll have to slam the brakes right back on and in fact slam them on more harshly than you did to start with," he told ABC radio on Monday.

New modelling by the Business Council of Australia shows the economy could take a $400 billion hit if restrictions adopted to fight the virus continue for six months.

Queensland and Western Australia will begin easing some restrictions from this week, while category two and some category three elective surgeries will recommence from Monday.

It includes IVF, dental work, screening programs, all child surgeries, joint replacements, eye procedures, endoscopies and colonoscopies.

Elective surgeries were postponed last month to free up beds and save personal protective equipment amid fears the coronavirus would overwhelm the hospital system.

Australian Medical Association president Tony Bartone welcomed the gradual return to elective surgery while lending his support to the COVIDSafe app.

"(Elective surgery) is an important additional component in ensuring that we deal with the necessary burden of disease now, and do not defer and roll out a significant hump of unexpected complications in managing those conditions as we reach the end of COVID-19," he said.

Dr Bartone also urged Australians not to neglect their health concerns, following widespread reports people were avoiding seeing their doctor amid fears of contracting coronavirus.

"Heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, cancers do not take a holiday because of the circulating COVID-19 virus and the message to Australians is to continue their usual care and see a doctor for whatever symptoms are unusual," he said.

"Don't write it off. It might be your health that you are putting off."

© AAP 2020