"Impact Of Coronavirus For Australia Could Be Bigger Than Global Financial Crisis": Australian PM Scott Morrison

The Prime Minister urged the people in the country to pray as Australia faces “the biggest economic shock in generations.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has warned that the year 2020 could be the "toughest year" for the people of Australia. Addressing the parliament, Scott Morrison urged the public against allowing the fear of the COVID-19 pandemic "overtake" the nation.

Australia has not seen the forced closure of pubs, casinos, churches and gyms began since years. However, the deadly pandemic has brought the country to a standstill.

An online portal for government services also shut down as unemployed people rushed to register for income support payments, which have been temporarily doubled by AU$550 to help and support people cope with the COVID-19 crisis.

After as many as 29 years, Australia might enter into recession as the global coronavirus outbreak has hit the country's economy despite a $189 billion ($100 billion) government relief package. The cabinet is also preparing to sign off on a multi-billion dollar stimulus package for households to boost consumption and business.

Morrison said that the Government's fiscal response would save the budget and economy during the coronavirus crisis. "When the economy bounces back, our budget will also bounce back. The stronger the recovery, the stronger the economy, the stronger the budget," he said.

"Australia will pass this test and emerge stronger on the other side," PM asserted.

He also said that the measures must be accompanied by an exit strategy, to make sure that the budget wasn't kept "under water."

"We are a strong nation and a strong people but, in the months ahead this will put us all to the test. But together Australia, we are up to this challenge," he said.

The Prime Minister warned that the country could enter its most challenging period since World War II. However, he also said that Australians will face this challenge with the greatest asset undiminished-common sense, resilience and ingenuity of people.

"We summon the spirit of the ANZACS, of our Great Depression generation, of those who built the Snowy, of those who won the great peace of World War II and defended Australia," he added.

Australia suffered badly during the Great Depression which began in the 1930s with the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and rapidly spread worldwide. Unemployment reached a record high of 30% in 1932, and gross domestic product declined by 10% between 1929 and 1931.

As a part of shutting all non-essential services, Australia has already sealed its borders to international arrivals.

Expressing his fears, PM Morrison reiterated social distancing measures suggested by the national cabinet and said that they could be enforced for six months as "no three or four-week shutdown can make it all go away."

"Australians will be living with this virus, is our advice, for at least the next six months. It could be longer," he said.

The Prime Minister urged the people in the country to pray as Australia faces "the biggest economic shock in generations."

Australia, long and open trading nation, is now closed off largely from the world, the PM said.

Australia has reported more than 1,700 cases of COVID-19. As many as seven people have died from the virus.

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Editor : Prateek Gautam

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