Australian Treasurer announced the country's robust economy has taken a serious battering by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Australian government confirmed on Wednesday that the country has plunged into a recession because of the coronavirus pandemic, and that the fresh outbreak of the virus has prevented any sort of recovery, piling pressure on the government to keep its fiscal taps open.
The country’s $1.47 trillion economy decreased by seven percent in the last three months, according to the data of the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Like the United States, Japan, UK and Germany, the country officially entered a recession after experiencing two straight quarters of economic shrink. It is the first major downturn since 1991.
Josh Frydenberg, Treasurer of Australia, said: “Today’s national accounts confirm the devastating impact on the Australian economy from Covid-19. Our record run of 28 consecutive years of economic growth has now officially come to an end.”
Frydenberg also defines the crisis as “like no other.”
“Our commitment to the Australian people is that we have your back. We will be with you through this crisis and...all the way out of this crisis,” he added.
The second quarter shrink was also the highest of the country’s quarterly gross domestic product (GDP) since records began in 1959.
The decline surpassed the 5.9 percent of forecast amid coronavirus measures, where the country’s second most-populous state of Victoria remains in lockdown to hinder the spread of Covid-19. All the while, its international borders are shut, too.
Victoria’s lockdown would have a heavy impact on September quarter GDP, the Treasurer said.
Since March, more than a million Australians have lost their jobs. This is as a result of the country’s lockdown and other measures that have hit the private sector and investments.
The government unveiled nearly $220 billion worth of economic stimulus packages, however the recent data shows it needs more for the recovery.
Covid-19 cases hit eight-day high
On Thursday, the country reported the biggest one-day rise in Covid-19 cases in more than a week, denting optimism that a stringent lockdown of its second-largest city will soon be lifted.
Authorities said 127 cases of Covid-19 have been detected in the past 24 hours, upon the 109 cases recorded on Wednesday and the biggest one-day jump since Aug 28.
The bulk of the cases were detected in Victoria state. It reported 113 new cases in the past 24 hours, despite the state capital, Melbourne, nearing the end of a six-week lockdown.
As a result, state authorities said Australia’s second-largest city - home to 5 million people - may have to continue with restrictions beyond the planned September 13 end date.
“I can’t rule out that we have to continue (with some) rules. I simply can’t,” state Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters in Melbourne.
During August, Victoria imposed a nightly curfew, tightened restrictions on people’s movement and ordered large parts of the local economy to close to slow the spread of the virus.