Australia

The cost of the Australia's public health response to coronavirus could be as high as $1 billion

Health experts have questioned the effectiveness of surgical face masks in preventing the spread of coronavirus. Source: Anadolu

The Morrison government has struck a deal with the states and territories to bear the health costs of COVID-19 on a 50/50 basis.

    • The Morrison government has made an agreement with states and territories to bear the health costs of tackling the coronavirus on a 50/50 basis, which could end up costing $1 billion.

    • Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it was a stand-alone arrangement, with $100 million put down upfront, and not linked to any other funding arrangements.

    • "This is about dealing with the coronavirus, and making sure that the states, as they are leaning forward and responding we are leaning forward and responding with them," he told reporters in Canberra on Friday.

    • The commonwealth will contribute $500 million while the states make up the rest.

    • "It could be more, but we at least have to enter into these arrangements having some sense of the scale of what we're dealing with here," Mr Morrison said.

    • Deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly said meetings are taking place with key health department officials on Friday, looking at vulnerable communities within Australia, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and people with disability.

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