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Second-Wave Fears Sweep Nation

SYDNEY: Australia’s potential to be hit by an economically disastrous second-wave of coronavirus infections is on the cards with limited testing and the failure to detect the number of infected younger people without symptoms and unwittingly spread the virus as social-distancing measures ease.

Economists are warning the country risks lulling itself into a false sense of security as the Morrison government takes steps to re-open the economy, including the gradual reintroduction of elective surgery today.

Some bankers including Citi senior economist Joshua Williamson expect it will take until 2022 for a return to economic activity. He told The Australian a second wave of coronavirus could be disastrous and Australia must remain vigilant on testing, particularly among those who have been infected but show no symptoms.

Many investors have been hopeful that a quick remedy for the virus would allow the economy to open faster than expected and help spur a V-shaped recovery — a sharp slowdown and then a quick bounce back.

While the rate of COVID-19 infections has fallen below one percent a day in the past week, commentators say it is too early to relax the strict social-distancing measures to limit the spread of the virus, which has killed 76 Australians and infected more than 6600.

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