Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been labelled “gold standard” by Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft.
Gates, who has dedicated billions of dollars to vaccine research, has been warning for months of a new pandemic looming on the horizon.
He warned the annual Munich Security Conference last week a new outbreak in the future would likely require much stricter policies in its early days than how most of the world enacted against COVID-19.
“If every country does what Australia did, then you wouldn’t be calling (the next outbreak) a pandemic,” Gates said.
Meanwhile, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet believes the removal of masks in his state and others will help spur economic activity and job creation in Australia’s cities.
COVID-19 mask mandates were lifted and dance floors reopened across the eastern states from Friday, although face coverings are still required in NSW, Victoria and the ACT in high-risk settings such as public transport, aged care facilities, airports and hospitals.
“We’ve seen a strong return to activity in the city and that’s incredibly important because when Sydney goes well, the state and the country goes well off the back of it,” Perrottet told reporters on Sunday.
“With face masks being removed for the office, I think we will see a lot more people return to the city tomorrow … as people return to work, that’s incredibly important and that will spur economic activity and jobs in our cities.”
There are exceptions for some school students in Victoria and the ACT, who will still have to keep their masks on for now, while Queensland will ease mask rules and density limits this week.
Mandates remain in Western Australia, Tasmania, South Australia and the Northern Territory.