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Australia ‘return to normal life’

27 July 2020 by News Desk

Around one in six people in Australia (16 per cent) believe their lives have returned to normal since the start of COVID-19 or that they did not change at all while 9 per cent do not believe their pre-pandemic lives will ever return, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The eighth Household Impacts of COVID-19 Survey was conducted in early July, at a time when the resurgence of coronavirus cases across parts of Victoria was leading to stronger restrictions in parts of the state.

ABS head of Household Surveys, Michelle Marquardt, said the survey also showed that similar numbers of people thought that their lives would return to normal within 3 months compared to those who thought that it would be more than a year before a return to normal (17 and 18 per cent).

“We also found that men were more than twice as likely as women to think that their lives would return to normal within 3 months (23 and 10 percent).” Ms Marquardt said.

“Very few people living in Victoria reported that their lives had not changed or had already returned to normal (2 per cent) compared to people living in the rest of Australia (21 per cent).

“One in six Victorians (16 per cent) were unsure how long it would take for life to return to normal compared to one in thirteen (8 per cent) for the rest of Australia.”

The survey also asked people to assess their general mental health. Three in five Australians (60 per cent) considered their mental health to be excellent or very good, while around one in seven (14 per cent) reported their mental health as fair or poor.

“When asked about the use of mental health or support services, 14 per cent had used at least one service since March. Use of a mental health and support service was higher for women than men (19 per cent of women compared to 10 per cent of men).”

People were also asked about what aspects of their current lives they would like to continue after COVID-19 restrictions eased, with 29 per cent wanting to maintain spending more time with family and friends while 28 per cent said there was nothing they would like to continue.

Other responses included continuing to have less environmental impact (27 per cent); spending less or saving more (25 per cent); working or studying from home (25 per cent) and slower pace of life (23 per cent).

Initiatives in place to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and support the economy included:

§ international travel restrictions
§ an economic stimulus package (12 March)
§ border control measures for some states and territories
§ shutting down of non-essential services and a second economic stimulus package (22 March)
§ a Coronavirus Supplement announced on 22 March, to be paid fortnightly from 27 April to eligible income support recipients along with their usual payments
§ a safety net package of $1.1 billion to expand mental health and Telehealth services, increase domestic violence services and provide more emergency food relief (29 March)
§ social distancing rules and additional shutdown restrictions (20–30 March)
§ free childcare for working parents (2 April)
§ a JobKeeper Payment passed in legislation on 15 April and paid to employers to keep more Australians in jobs and support businesses affected by the COVID-19 restrictions
§ easing of restrictions on elective surgery gradually from 28 April
§ National Cabinet agreeing on a three-stage plan to ease restrictions (8 May)
§ easing of restrictions in all states and territories from mid-May, with most between stage two and three at the time of the survey
§ restrictions reinstated in regions of Victoria from 1 July related to new coronavirus clusters.

From 6 July to 10 July, when this survey was conducted, Victoria was identifying between 150 and 200 new cases daily. New South Wales numbers were steady between 10 and 15 new cases daily, while other states and territories were continuing to keep numbers low (no higher than three cases but often days with no new cases).

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For a range of official government information about Australia, visit https://www.Australia.gov.au

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