Lockdowns cost Australian economy around 220 mln USD a day: treasurer
Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said on Thursday that coronavirus lockdowns around the country were costing the economy around 300 million Australian dollars (220.4 million U.S. dollars) a day.
Frydenberg said he expected Australia’s GDP to be affected in the current quarter as a result of ongoing lockdowns.
As of Thursday, more than half of the country’s 25 million people were under lockdown in the states of South Australia and Victoria, and in the Greater Sydney area in New South Wales (NSW) to prevent the spread of the Delta strain of COVID-19.
“Right now with more than 13 million of fellow Australians in lockdown, these are very trying times,” Frydenberg told Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) television.
“Businesses are closed, kids are being homeschooled, and, of course, families are apart. And it’s gonna have a hit on the economy. We’ll see that in the future jobs data as well as in the GDP growth numbers.
“But our expectation is that these lockdowns are costing around 300 million AUD a day, which is a very high price. And, of course, we’re not out of it just yet.”
Australia’s GDP grew by 1.8 percent in the first quarter of 2021, making the economy 1.1 percent bigger than it was at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
The official unemployment rate fell to an 11-year low of 4.9 percent in June after falling for eight consecutive months, a streak that is expected to end as a result of the lockdowns.
About 15 percent of Australia’s adult population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 so far.
According to ABC’s figures, the country can expect to reach the 40 million doses needed to fully vaccinate the adult population in early February 2022.
As of Wednesday afternoon, there had been 32,269 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, and the number of locally acquired cases in the previous 24 hours was 135, according to the latest figures from the Department of Health.
NSW, Australia’s most populous state, on Thursday reported 124 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19.