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(Australian Associated Press)
- Australia has recorded about 7068 cases, with 557 remaining active.
- The national death toll is 100 – NSW 49, Victoria 18, Tasmania 13, WA 9, Queensland 6, SA 4, ACT 3. (Two QLD residents who died in NSW have been included in both state’s counts).
- A 93-year-old woman from Newmarch House has become the 17th virus-linked death at the NSW aged care facility.
- Nearly 5.9 million of an estimated 16 million people have registered for the federal government’s COVIDSafe tracing app since April 26.
- The federal government has announced a three-phase plan to ease off coronavirus restrictions in coming months, with states and territories to determine the exact timings.
- Social distancing and hygiene measures retained.
- NSW public school students will return to full-time classes on May 25. A staged return to school classrooms has begun in Queensland. In Victoria prep, grades 1, 2, 11 and 12 students return to their classrooms on May 26 with the rest returning from June 9. WA reinstated compulsory school attendance from May 18. Tasmanian schools to start reopening from May 25.
- NSW restrictions on outdoor gatherings and recreational activities, cafes, restaurants, clubs and pubs eased. People must stick to a group limit of 10 and maintain social distancing. Working from home is encouraged while public transport changes mean 12 people at most on two-door buses in Sydney, 32 commuters per train carriage and 245 people on the Manly ferry.
- Victorians may have up to five visitors in their homes. Gathering limits relaxed to 10 for outdoor activities including fishing, hiking and golf. Maximum of 10 guests at weddings, 20 at indoor funerals and 30 for outdoor services. From June 1, 20 people allowed inside restaurants, cafes and pubs, increasing to 50 diners from June 22 and 100 in the second half of July.
- In Queensland, shopping for non-essential items permitted while up to five members of one household can visit other homes. Up to 10 people allowed to congregate in parks, pools and playgrounds. The Queensland and NSW border could reopen in September.
- South Australia has resumed elective surgeries and allowed regional accommodation to reopen. Alcohol-free dining with a 10-person limit allowed at cafes and restaurants. Seasonal workers must self-isolate before entering the state.
- WA has entered phase two of its recovery plan, allowing greater regional travel and encouraging people back to work while cafes, pubs and restaurants may seat up to 20 patrons. Further easing of restrictions expected on June 8.
- The Northern Territory has relaxed restrictions on parks, golf, fishing and swimming. Restaurants and bars can reopen with a two-hour limit, with entertainment venues to come. Restricted access to indigenous communities remains in place until at least June 18.
- In Tasmania, restaurants and cafes are allowed to seat up to 10 people with the same number allowed to gather for real estate purposes, religious gatherings and weddings. Premier Peter Gutwein is hopeful of making a call to reopen borders in July.
- The ACT has allowed outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people, easing restrictions on sport and recreation.
- Supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, public transport, some schools, hairdressers, petrol stations, postal and freight services, bottle shops, newsagents, retail shops. Restaurants and cafes opened in most states.
- China has agreed to support an international probe into the coronavirus but not before Beijing punished Australia’s push for the investigation by slapping an 80 per cent, five-year tariff on barley imports on Monday.
- There’s not enough evidence to support Donald Trump’s use of a malaria drug to protect himself against COVID-19, according to an Australian task force.
- Four nursing homes in Melbourne have gone into lockdown after a resident from each were tested for the virus.
- Victorian universities will receive a $350 million boost to help them recover from the pandemic
- Meanwhile, the state’s police have stung more than 5600 people with $8 million in COVID-19 related fines since late March.
- One in eight Australians believe Microsoft founder Bill Gates is somehow responsible for the coronavirus and the 5G wireless network is to blame for spreading the disease.
- The NRL will resume competition on May 28 while the AFL will resume on June 11.
- The referees union will head for arbitration with the NRL later this week over the league’s decision to revert to one referee for the rest of the season.
- The International Cricket Council is set to update regulations prohibiting the using spit to polish cricket balls while Cricket Australia is considering reducing the Women’s Big Bash League by 16 matches this summer as part of virus cost cuts.
- Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham has urged state and territory governments to open borders to domestic holiday-makers when safe.
- The federal government’s current free childcare plan is costing about $131 million a week.
- The local private health insurance industry lost nearly $300 million in income in the March quarter due to virus-linked losses on the stock market.
- Cases: at least 4,894,278
- Deaths: at least 320,189
- Recovered: at least 1,909,233
Data current as of 1730 AEST May 19, taking in federal government and state/territory government updates. Johns Hopkins virus tracker.