Health minister Greg Hunt says "not everything will be the same" after the COVID-19 pandemic as he announced Australia has contracts for the supply of over 500 million face masks.
In an interview with Sky News late Monday, Minister Hunt said the over half a billion face masks had been sourced locally and globally. However, recognising the intense competition of medical supplies, he said, "We don't count them until they arrive."
The minister was also asked about 'essential industries'. He said, "not everything will be the same" after the pandemic, including what is considered critical, referring to medical supplies. What do we need as a "baseline" for future pandemics, he asked, adding they may become more frequent.
Minister Hunt confirmed symptomatic treatments will emerge before vaccines. He said there is some evidence for the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine but acknowledged it is 'disputed'. Mr Hunt says Australia has 2,000 courses with more to come.
He said the federal government will release its modelling on COVID-19 but that it appears Australia "will avoid the worst of what has happened overseas."
"We are doing better than our best hope and best expectations," he said, referring to early positive signs. "More successful than our best expectations," he added.