Today’s Karl Stefanovic has warned Australia off blindly following coronavirus ravaged Europe in lifting its strict lockdown rules during a fiery debate with colleague Allison Langdon.
The co-hosts vehemently disagreed during a discussion about whether Australia should begin easing COVID-19 restrictions as the infection curve finally flattens.
The rate of transmission in Australia is slowing, with latest figures showing more people are recovering from the illness than are battling it for the first time.
Since the outbreak began on January 25, 6,415 Australians have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and more than half have recovered with only 62 deaths recorded.
The rate of infections has also dropped to its lowest in Europe and several nations including Spain and Italy – two of the hardest hit – are now reopening for business.
Langdon argued Australia should slowly follow suit during an interview with father-of-two Paul Johnson who is living in Denmark which is beginning to return to normal today after a week-long decline in new cases and deaths.
Stefanovic quickly hit back with a withering slapdown saying Australians must be more cautious to avoid a second wave of infections which could prove more deadly than the original outbreak.
‘I don’t think Australia needs to be taking any lead out of Europe,’ he said, before adding he thinks ‘our medical authorities are right on top of it.’
Australia has made significant progress in the fight against coronavirus, with a clear flattening of the curve on the graph that measures the daily infection rate
Pictured: Customers queuing to enter a store in Austria after the government eased lockdown restrictions following the coronavirus pandemic
‘We have to be very much on our toes about clusters coming up as a result and these second wave of infections as we’ve seen in Tasmania, when you have clusters fire up,’ he said.
Langdon disagreed, and pointed out ‘not every European country is the same’.
‘Countries like Denmark, they got on top of this really quickly and locked down,’ she said. ‘They haven’t had the same outbreaks as other places.’
France, Italy and Spain, have recorded deaths by the thousands, overwhelmed hospital systems and a combined total of almost half a million cases of coronavirus.
In Spain all non-essential industries were shut down two weeks ago as the virus peaked and deaths hit 900 a day.
In Denmark, there are 6,511 known cases of COVID-19, including 299 deaths and 2,515 patients who have recovered.
Mr Johnson, an Aussie expat, said he wasn’t concerned about a second wave of infections.
‘We’re feeling fairly cautious but optimistic as well… It’s not as if there are new cases coming into the country,’ he said before his phone line dropped out.
‘From what we can ascertain from authorities, we’ve got no major risk.’
Meanwhile Australia is still in the midst of a restrictive lockdown where people cannot leave the house unless for essential travel. Pictured: Maroubra Beach on April 12
Langdon and Stefanovic were at odds over their differing opinions in Australia’s next step against coronavirus
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 6,432
New South Wales: 2,886
South Australia: 433
Western Australia: 527
Australian Capital Territory: 103
Northern Territory: 28
TOTAL CASES: 6,432
Stefanovic said a single week of positive results shouldn’t warrant the reopening of schools and daycare centres.
‘Based on the world example, there is some concern if you open it up too early… A week is not a long time,’ he said.
‘Its really interesting that some countries will be doing that and opening up schools on a day when we’re fiercely debating that.’
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged parents to send their children to school following the Easter break, despite some state premiers giving opposite advice by telling families to keep kids home if possible.
‘We will lose many things in the course of fighting this virus,’ he said.
‘One thing that I know teachers are united on, with their parents, is we do not want one of those things to be the loss of a child’s education, giving up a whole year of their learning.’
Students in Denmark will be required to wash their hands 25 times per day and there will be reduced numbers of kids per classroom.
Langdon said the details of exactly how Denmark is planning to return to normal is ‘something we could potentially look at,’ while Stefanovic said its too early to even consider.
‘I’m just saying… We should be erring on the side of medical professionals,’ he said, before Langdon could interject.
‘You can say. And I can disagree,’ she said.