Australia Finance Minister Mathias Cormann on Wednesday warned that the nation’s medical stockpile has been “somewhat exposed” to international shortages amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cormann further called for the government to reconsider its approach to stockpiling medical supplies in order to be better prepare for future crises, according to the media report.
“Some of the personal protective equipment, when there is global competition and strong global demand for access to these products, then obviously we were somewhat exposed”, he added.
Earlier, Australian states have closed their borders in an effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
For the first time in history, Western Australia (WA), the country’s largest state, closed its borders, according to the report.
Last week, Australia announced a nearly US$100 million boost in funding to tackle domestic violence after support services reported a spike in coronavirus-related family abuse.
With 336 cases of unknown origin, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said laws restricting public gatherings and limiting people leaving their homes could be in place for as long as six months, and did not rule out extending that period if health experts recommended to do so.
Prime Minister Morrison said the Aus$150 million boost — part of an additional Aus$1.1 billion in health-related spending announced earlier–would be spent on telephone support services for both domestic violence victims and abusers.
As the number of casualties due to coronavirus crossed 79,000, the pandemic seems to plateau in hotspots like Italy, United States, Spain, and China, with France recording 10,000 deaths
Cormann was speaking ahead of Parliament re-convening for a single day on Wednesday to vote on legislation for the government’s 130 billion Australian dollar (79.7 billion U.S. dollar) wage subsidy scheme.
In a major relief for China, the country reported no new coronavirus deaths for the first time since it started publishing figures in January.