Australia's top medical official has claimed Australia was seeing similar results to New Zealand despite not pursuing the country's "elimination" strategy.
Australia's chief medical officer Brendan Murphy said Australia was in a similar place to New Zealand where PM Jacinda Ardern says they've made significant strides towards eliminating coronavirus.
"There's not a great difference between the aggressive suppression we are seeking, and elimination," Prof Murphy told ABC's 7.30 on Monday night.
• Premium - Covid 19 coronavirus: Revealed - the data showing the success of NZ's lockdown over Australia's
• Covid 19 coronavirus: Aussies have done better at eliminating covid than Kiwis; and without as much economic impact - professor
• Covid 19 coronavirus: NZ's own tracing app on way as Australia rolls out COVIDSafe
• Covid-19 coronavirus Australia: Calls for pointless lockdown restrictions to be lifted as map reveals NSW postcodes that are coronavirus-free
Ardern yesterday declared the country had "won the battle" against widespread community transmission of coronavirus, as the country eased some of its lockdown measures.
The country's elimination strategy was enacted through lockdowns, with only essential services operating for more than four weeks and residents urged not to leave home.
But Murphy said he was pleased with the results Australia was getting and said there was very little difference in the outcomes between Australia and New Zealand.
"The sort of numbers we're getting at the moment … are pretty good, and if we can continue them as we expand our testing … that's as good as elimination in many respects," Prof Murphy said. "Elimination just means you're not detecting any cases. It doesn't mean you can relax."
In New Zealand, a country with a population of five million, they've recorded a total of 1475 cases of coronavirus. Of those infected, 19 have died.
Australia has recorded more than 6700 cases of coronavirus and 83 people have died from a population of 25 million.
Murphy explained there could still be undetected coronavirus cases in the community, or asymptomatic carriers transmitting the virus.
"There's not a great difference between the aggressive suppression we are seeking, and elimination.
"In fact, we're in pretty much the same position as New Zealand who have stated their claim to be one of elimination."
"We're in a very similar place."
Murphy signalled he was open to certain social distancing restrictions being eased in the coming weeks but wanted Australia to be "well prepared" for the possibility of an outbreak.
He said one of the preparedness methods would be greatly expanding testing across the country.
"We need to expand our testing significantly — we've now expanded our testing to every single person who has a respiratory infection — a cough or a cold or a runny nose."
Murphy said the testing should also be expanded out through sentinel tests of asymptomatic people in the community.
"It's pretty clear in some of the countries that have big problems — they had widespread transmission before they even knew it."
Murphy added that while it was unlikely, a large outbreak like those seen in New York and parts of Europe remains a possibility.
"If, for example, we relaxed restrictions and there was an outbreak of tens of thousands, which clearly happened in New York and clearly happened in Italy, then you're in that difficult situation. That's why we want to make sure the likelihood of that is extremely low."
Ardern on Monday claimed New Zealand had scored a significant victory against the spread of the coronavirus.
"There is no widespread, undetected community transmission in New Zealand," Ardern declared. "We have won that battle."
She made the comments as she announced the easing of some restrictions in the country as the country recorded one new case of coronavirus in a 24 hour period.