Australia close to magic virus number

Victoria is the only state to record new cases of coronavirus this weekend, bringing closer the day when Australia records zero additional cases.

The 11 new cases reported in Victoria on Saturday took the national total to 7185. Just 22 of the 475 active cases nationwide are being treated in hospital. 

With no new cases and no patients on ventilators, New South Wales has reached two major COVID-19 milestones in the run-up to a significant easing of restrictions.

The number of patrons allowed at cafes and restaurants in NSW will increase to 50. Victorians will be able to have up to 20 people at their home, and hospitality venues can serve 20 customers. In South Australia, up to 80 people will be allowed at cafes, pubs, cinemas and gyms, as long as people attend in groups of 20 or less.

Australia has recorded a total 7185 cases of COVID-19, with 3092 in New South Wales, 1645 in Victoria, 1058 in Queensland, 440 in South Australia, 586 in Western Australia, 228 in Tasmania, 107 in the Australian Capital Territory and 29 in the Northern Territory. The death toll stands at 103.

Follow our live, rolling coverage below.

Originally published as Australia close to magic virus number

What Victorians can do from tomorrow

Benjamin Graham

The simple pleasure of sitting down in a cafe, off limits for months, is about to become possible again in Victoria.

Cafes, restaurants and other spaces where people gather are preparing to re- open, albeit with 20-person limits, as the state's coronavirus restrictions are set to ease on Monday.

The requirements on eateries demand 1.5m between tables and collection of patrons' contact details to assist in rapid contract tracing should any become unwell with the virus.

Libraries, galleries, museums, amusement parks, places of worship, beauty clinics, nail salons and massage parlours will also be allowed to reopen with no more than 20 people.

People will also be permitted to stay in holiday homes and attend tourist accommodation such as caravan parks and camping grounds.

The easing of restrictions comes as Victoria was the only state or territory in Australia to confirm new cases on Saturday and the chief health officer urged continued vigilance and testing.

Among 11 fresh cases were three added to the cluster started from a student case at Keilor Downs Secondary College.

One of these is a year 2 student, whose entire class from Holy Eucharist Primary School is now in isolation for two weeks.

The primary school is being cleaned and will reopen on Monday. A total of 78 contacts from two other high schools are in isolation as a result of the infected Keilor Downs student.

Victoria has recorded 1645 cases, of which 73 are active.

Seven people are in hospital, including two in intensive care. If Victorians are able, they must work from home until at least the end of June.

AAP

Eleven new cases nationwide on Saturday

Benjamin Graham

There were 11 new coronavirus cases added to the nation's tally yesterday, the federal government's figures show.

All of those cases were recorded in Victoria, with every other state and territory reporting no new cases.

There has been 7185 cases across the country so far.

Year 2 class isolates due to Melb cluster

Alle McMahon

A class of Year 2 students in Melbourne is in isolation for two weeks after a child tested positive for coronavirus.

The student from Holy Eucharist Primary School in St Albans South in the city's west is one of the latest COVID-19 cases in the outbreak linked to an infected Keilor Downs Secondary College student.

A total of 78 contacts from two other high schools, St Albans Secondary College and Taylors Lakes Secondary College are now in isolation because of the Keilor Downs case.

There are 11 cases linked to the Keilor Downs case and they are from the same extended family.

Holy Eucharist Primary will be deep cleaned and is expected to reopen on Monday. A drive-through testing site has been set up at the Keilor Community Hub to help curb the outbreak.

Victorian authorities reported 11 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, three linked to the Keilor Downs cluster and four to a Melbourne hotel where returned travellers are being quarantined.

Rydges on Swanston has six confirmed cases in total - all hotel staff. Victoria's has recorded a total of 1645 cases, of which 73 are active. Seven people are in hospital, including two in intensive care.

COVID-19 still stifling Australia's recovery

Andrew Banks

- NEW DEVELOPMENTS

* A class of Year 2s in Melbourne's west are in isolation after a child tested positive for coronavirus. The primary student is among an extended family cluster of 11 that started from a high school student.

* Scientists will sift through the sewage of a central Queensland town to try and determine the source of a COVID-19 infection that claimed the life of a 30-year-old man.

* Investigators are working to "untangle" the changing story of a nurse at the centre of two coronavirus scares in Queensland to determine if she could be the source.

* A historical case has been detected among the crew of the plagued Al Kuwait livestock ship docked in WA. The number of cases from the infected live export ship Al Kuwait has risen to 20, bringing WA's total cases to 25.

* Hundreds of demonstrators in Australia's largest capitals have defied social- distancing rules, claiming the COVID-19 pandemic is a "scam".

- ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTS

* The federal budget deficit hit $40 billion at the end of April due to billions in stimulus spending in response to the coronavirus crisis.

- SPORT

* Cricket Australia want the Twenty20 World Cup postponed as it braces for a $80-million hit to its summer coffers.

* The NRL competition has resumed with no crowds but its biggest TV ratings in more than six years.

* AFL resumes June 11.

* A condensed Super Rugby season starts July 3.

What will change in NSW from Monday

Andrew Banks

From Monday, NSW pubs and restaurants can have up to 50 customers while intrastate holiday travel will be permitted.

Museums, galleries, libraries and beauty salons will reopen while up to 20 people will be allowed to attend weddings.

Funerals and places of worship can have up to 50 people.

"It is crucial that worshippers remember to follow health advice. This is particularly important for people with co-morbidities aged over 50 and people aged over 70," Premier Gladys Berejiklian said in a statement.

The government had been wary about adjusting the restrictions on places of worship after observing outbreaks in churches and choirs overseas.

But state religious leaders pushed for the relaxation on service attendance after the government last week announced up to 50 people would be permitted to dine in restaurants, pubs and cafes from June 1.

Anthony Fisher, the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, on Friday said in a statement his church would abide by government health regulations.

The archbishop of the Anglican Archdiocese of Sydney also said Anglican churches were well prepared to return to services of 50 people.

Hand sanitisers will be available at each entrance, churches will be thoroughly cleaned and designated ushers will record attendees' contact details. "We realise that this is not the normality we enjoyed in 2019.

We are grateful for the relief, joy and comfort that many parishioners will feel in meeting again in public Christian worship," Archbishop Glenn Davies said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Ruby Princess passengers have been warned that a crew member being treated in a Sydney hospital was recently diagnosed with tuberculosis.

NSW Health said passengers are very low risk with the focus on screening close contacts of the man, including other crew members and hospital staff.



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