Harris: Social Distancing Like...


Harris: Social Distancing Likely To Remain 'Part Of Life' Until COVID-19 Vaccine Developed

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Health Minister Simon Harris has said social distancing is likely to remain 'part of life' until a COVID-19 vaccine or treatment is developed.

He stressed there's "not going to be a magic point" at the start of May when life can return to its pre-pandemic normal.

However, he urged people to not waste the next three weeks while restrictions remain in place.

Speaking this afternoon, Minister Harris said the next three weeks are going to matter an "awful lot" in terms of the virus' development here.

He said modelling shows we could have seen 120,000 cases in a single day here by the end of this week if social distancing measures hadn't been introduced.

Minister Harris said we must now 'stick the course' and get the virus R-number (reproductive number) - referring to the average number of people infected by people with COVID-19 - below one.

He observed: “It is so important that we use the three week period we’re now entering… to do everything humanly possible to suppress the virus and save lives.

“Please stay the course, please stay focused - these three weeks really, really matter.”

Amid uncertainty over the degree to which restrictions will be lifted in the coming weeks and months, Minister Harris encouraged people to not get caught up in speculating what the situation may be like after the current period of restrictions.

He said: “We need to focus on the here-and-now - let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

“Let’s not waste these three weeks by anticipating what might come in the future."

He acknowledged the current situation is not sustainable or normal - but that the reason the restrictions are currently in place is to keep people safe.

Main image: Health Minister Simon Harris. Photograph: Sasko Lazarov /

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