Prepare for COVID Christmas: PM
Australians should prepare for a Christmas 1.5m apart, as Prime Minister Scott Morrison warns some restrictions are likely to remain in place even at the end of the year.
It could mean anything from a dampener on office Christmas parties through to being unable to fly to another state to see family, depending on required restrictions at the time, as the pandemic seems set to drag into 2021.
Hugs and handshakes are all but certain to remain on the naughty list, while handwashing and social distancing will be central to Yuletide cheer.
Mr Morrison said it was a quickly changing situation and it was important not to "get too far ahead on what might happen".
But he indicated medical evidence suggested that the virus would remain in play for some time to come yet.
"If circumstances change and certainly if they change in the way we hoped they would, well, I would welcome it by Christmas, if it were possible," he said.
"But I think it's unlikely that we're able to move back to a restriction-free society. I doubt that is going to happen.
"You've just got to follow the medical evidence on all of these, whether it's borders or whether it's the restrictions on trade or of local businesses or whatever it happens to be."
Mr Morrison also warned that governments had to be transparent about the medical advice they make decisions on.
"It's important that we just, look and test, interrogate the medical evidence and make decisions based on that and nothing else and be transparent about it," he said.
It is unknown what restrictions may be in place in Queensland by Christmas, given the quickly changing situation.
Several states, including Queensland, are maintaining various border restrictions which also remain uncertain when they will end.
On states' border restrictions, Mr Morrison said premiers needed to explain their decisions and the advice they were acting on.
"It's for others to judge whether they're doing that sufficiently or not," he said.
Specifically not issuing any criticism, it is a sharp turn around from June when Mr Morrison was urging states to reopen their borders.
Originally published as Prepare for COVID Christmas: PM