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Virus restriction easing 'many weeks' away

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Australians are being warned the restrictions put in place to contain coronavirus will be in place for many more weeks, despite the nation's infection curve improving.

The number of Australians infected with COVID-19 has risen to 6366 and 61 people have died.

State and federal leaders will meet later this week to discuss when restrictions can be relaxed.

"I do want to caution Australians that we're not in that phase yet ... we're many weeks away from being in a place like that," Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Seven's Sunrise on Tuesday.

He said any lifting of restrictions would need to be backed up by a strong health system and even stronger testing regime.

"You've seen in places like Singapore and Sweden and other parts of the world where the virus has just taken off again," he said.

Treasury modelling released on Tuesday shows Australia's unemployment rate is expected to nearly double to 10 per cent because of the pandemic.

The prime minister said the jobless rate could have been much higher without government support, but acknowledged mass job losses were taking a "heartbreaking" toll.

Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said it was important Australia maintained social distancing measures for the time being, as every single undetected community transmission could infect a lot of people.

"The scale of measures at the moment are something that we clearly do have to review ... but it's not now, it's within the next few weeks," he told ABC radio.

"I think we need to look at all of the data, look at our preparedness, and the national cabinet will be making a lot of decisions about what, if anything, can be relaxed in the coming weeks."

Professor Murphy said he would be very concerned if social restrictions were relaxed before public hospitals were fully prepared and the country had enough personal protective equipment.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said the aim was to work towards "effective eradication" of the disease.

Meanwhile, the federal government is considering subsidising domestic flights for airlines hammered by the pandemic.

Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said there were no guarantees international flights would resume by December.

He is encouraging people to take domestic holidays instead once the pandemic subsides.

© AAP 2020

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