‘Don’t get complacent’: Warning ahead of new freedom



A world leading parenting expert has welcomed the easing of COVID-19 restrictions but warned it must be done cautiously.

Matthew Sanders is a professor of clinical psychology and the director of the Parenting and Family Support Centre at the University of Queensland.

He urged people to keep their expectations "grounded and realistic" after the Government announced it would relax home confinement rules.

"I think any gradual controlled loosening of restrictions would be welcomed by most people but it's crucial that it's done very carefully and no one gets complacent," he said.


Professor Matthew Sanders. Picture: Safarik Eddie
Professor Matthew Sanders. Picture: Safarik Eddie

"Otherwise we could be back to square one.

"From the perspective of people's mental health and wellbeing, I think people are probably thinking of it as a kind of a mixed blessing in the sense that everyone would probably prefer not to be in a lockdown situation but no one wants to get in a situation where the possibility of it worsening again occurs."

Other states that have eased restrictions have been disappointed with the public's reaction.

At the weekend some Sydney beaches were reopened but the large crowds that followed earned a rebuke from NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has also warned that people should expect snap, local shutdowns if relaxations of restrictions sparked coronavirus outbreaks.

From Saturday Queenslanders will be able to take short scenic drives, take to the waters, go bushwalking and shop for non-essential items all within a 50km radius of their homes.



Prof Sanders said strong "leadership and guidance" was needed on how the new rules worked.

"You've generally got a pretty compliant and co-operative population at the moment, where most people are wanting to do the right thing by their own family, by their kids and the broader community," he said.

"We should be taking the lead from the medical advice and not push it too fast too soon and just keep our expectations quite grounded and realistic."

He said parents also needed to be "clear, strong and consistent" with their children.

Originally published as 'Don't get complacent': Warning ahead of new freedom