Australian economy to "bounce back" as COVID-19 lockdowns end: Treasurer

2021-10-13 05:36:08 GMT2021-10-13 13:36:08(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

CANBERRA, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- Recent coronavirus lockdowns have cost the Australian economy billions of dollars as the country continues to battle the third wave of COVID-19 infections, said Australia's Treasurer Josh Frydenberg Wednesday.

He told a press conference that he expects Australia's gross domestic product (GDP) to fall by three percent or more in the September quarter due to more than half the population being locked-down in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra.

He said the sharp economic downturn put the cost of the strict restrictions at approximately two billion Australian dollars (1.4 billion U.S. dollars) per week.

However, Frydenberg predicted that the economy will "bounce back" quickly, with Australians having accumulated 250 billion AUD (183.2 billion USD) in savings during the pandemic.

"We are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel as vaccination rates rise," he said, according to The Australian.

"Vaccines are the cheapest form of economic stimulus available."

On Wednesday, Australia reported more than 2,000 new locally-acquired COVID-19 cases and 17 deaths.

New South Wales (NSW), Australia's most populous state with Sydney as the capital city, recorded 444 new local cases and four deaths.

Victoria, the second-most populous state with Melbourne as the capital city, reported a further 1,571 new local cases and 13 deaths.

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) recorded 51 cases -- its most in recent days -- at least 22 of which were assessed as presenting a risk of transmission to others.

Sydney exited lockdown on Monday, with Canberra set to follow suit on Friday and Melbourne later this month.

So far about 83.2 percent of Australians aged 16 and over have received one COVID vaccine dose and 64.4 percent were fully vaccinated, according to the latest data released by the Department of Health. Enditem