Australia recorded just three new coronavirus cases on Sunday as New South Wales announced an ‘imminent’ opening of gyms and Victoria eased restrictions.
Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria each recorded one new coronavirus case on Sunday in what was the lowest national daily tally since March 6.
It brings the coronavirus total to 7114 as of Sunday evening. Of those, 102 people have died and 6508 have recovered – leaving just 504 active cases.
NSW gyms are set to open ‘imminently’ as coronavirus restrictions ease. Pictured: Paralympic Rower Erik Horrie lifts weights in his backyard gym in isolation on May 01, 2020 in Sydney
Australia had the lowest new case numbers since March 6 on Sunday, as lockdown measures continue to reduce transmission of the deadly coronavirus
Only five coronavirus patients were in intensive care as of Sunday night, and only 33 in hospital – showing Australia’s lockdown has crushed the spread of the highly infectious virus.
Six million people have now downloaded the government’s coronavirus tracking app less than a month after its launch, helping authorities trace contacts of any diagnosed cases.
The good news comes as restrictions begin to ease in the nation’s worst affected states of New South Wales and Victoria.
WHEN GYMS WILL OPEN IN AUSTRALIA
All gyms will be initially open subject to social distancing limits and/or restrictions on numbers which may vary in your state
New South Wales: ‘imminently’ in Stage 2 (no date set)
Queensland: Expected on June 13 with up to 20 patrons at a time
Victoria: June 22
South Australia: June 5
Tasmania: June 15
ACT: In stage 2 (no date set)
Western Australia: already opened on May 18
Northern Territory: already opened on May 15
New South Wales
The state hardest hit by coronavirus recorded one case on Sunday, a returned traveller from the UK who is in quarantine in a hotel.
This brings the state’s total to 3087.
Hundreds of extra transport staff including security and marshalling officers will be out across NSW from Monday to monitor social distancing as students return to public schools full-time and more people return to work.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said on Sunday that the reopening of gyms in was ‘imminent’ although no date has yet been set.
‘It is fair to say there are some particular inherent issues with the use of equipment in gyms,’ he told reporters on Sunday.
An estimated four million people use Australia’s gyms and the industry has been lobbying hard for a reopen.
Fitness Australia CEO Barrie Elvish called for state governments to allow gyms to open sooner than pubs and restaurants, saying the industry had already developed a safety framework.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet announced on Sunday that zoos, reptile parks and aquariums would also be re-opening from June 1.
Extra safety measures will be in place including enhanced cleaning and limited visitor numbers so that four square metres of space is allowed per person.
Taronga Zoo along with NSW zoos, reptile parks and aquariums can open on June 1 as long as social distancing rules are followed. Pictured: elephant calf and mother at Taronga on 24 May
Federal Health Department figures showing most coronavirus cases were infected overseas
The Berejiklian government also announced a $50 million package to support art and cultural organisations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state government previously announced that from June 1, up to 50 people will be allowed in restaurants, pubs and cafes.
Regional travel restrictions will also ease while museums, galleries and libraries will be allowed to open.
Beauty salons in NSW will be able to open for business from June 1 as the state government further eases COVID-19 restrictions.
‘Of all the requests I’ve had as health minister, this one topped the barrel,’ Mr Hazzard said on Sunday.
NSW gyms are set to open ‘imminently’ although a date has not yet been set. Pictured: champion paralympic rower Erik Horrie lifts weights in his backyard gym in isolation on May 1
‘A big day for women in our community, a big day for everybody in the community – beauty salons are open, tanning salons, nail salons, waxing salons – how good is this Sunday?’
Strict new rules apply, and before reopening, businesses will require a COVID-19 safe plan which includes removing books and magazines from waiting areas, stepping up hygiene protocols and keeping a record of attendance.
No more than 10 clients will be allowed inside salons at any one time and four square metres of space must be allowed per person.
The NSW Government remains cautious after three cases of coronavirus were recorded over the preceding 24 hours.
All three people caught the virus overseas including two from Pakistan and one from the USA.
The trio were already in hotel quarantine, reducing the risk of onward infection.
Victoria recorded one new case bringing the state’s total to 1603 on Sunday.
Restrictions have been eased with changes to come into effect from next week.
Victoria will now allow holidays and parties of up to 20 people within the state as of June 1.
Victoria is back in business with the ski season set to kick off on June 22 if all goes to plan, Premier Daniel Andrews said on Facebook on Sunday
The 20-person limit is on the number of people in the house at one time, including those who live there, so a family of five could have 15 guests.
Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday to posted the good news on Facebook, saying high rates of testing and low levels of community transmission had allowed the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions.
Mr Andrews said the easing would allow community facilities and businesses to reopen including libraries, community centres, markets, beauty parlours and tattoo studios as of June 1.
Businesses will have to adhere to strict social distancing rules which include a staying 1.5m apart and having four square metres of space per person.
Playgrounds, skateparks, outdoor gym equipment, museums, drive-in cinemas, zoos and theme parks will also be allowed to open on June 1.
Camping grounds and caravan parks will open alongside hotels, but the use of communal bathrooms and kitchens is still banned.
These will have a limit of 20 people, the same as cafes, bistros and restaurants which can all reopen on June 1.
‘We’ve had to make some tough calls. We can’t just open the floodgates on everything all at once, and risk throwing away all our hard work,’ he said.
From June 1, art galleries and museums will be allowed to open for a maximum of 20 people along with zoos and outdoor amusement parks.
Weddings will be allowed to have 20 guests, plus the celebrant and couple, and up to 50 people allowed at a funeral in addition to the staff conducting it.
Scooter riders enjoy their new freedoms in Melbourne at the Riverslide Skate Park on Sunday
Pictured: Riverslide Skate Park in Melbourne on Sunday. Victoria is now allowing people to use outdoor skate parks, with many more restrictions to be eased on June 1
Up to 20 people will be allowed at religious ceremonies, in addition to those required to perform the service.
Victorians have been urged to continue working from home if they can.
Primary and high-school students will begin a staged return to physical classes on Monday.
Students from Prep to Grade 2, Years 11 and 12, and specialist school students will return on Tuesday.
Those in Grades 3 to Year 10 remain learning at home, until June 9.
University and TAFE students are asked to continue with remote learning.
Childcare and kindergartens are able to open.
Gyms, indoor sports facilities, movie theatres will be able to reopen from June 22 if all goes to plan and no second wave erupts, Mr Andrews said.
This will enable the snow season to kick off.
One new coronavirus case was confirmed in Queensland on Sunday bringing the total to 1061 of which just 14 people are still sick.
The latest infected patient is in Cairns, a one-time hotspot of community transmission in the state’s north which had enjoyed five days of zero active cases before the diagnosis.
The new infection was in a person that had contact with an overseas carrier.
The new case could prove to be a setback as it comes just days after tourism bodies from Cairns, the Whitsundays, Mackay and Townsville called for a North Queensland travel bubble of free movement.
The Queensland government on Sunday announced a $51.3 million recovery assistance package to help local sports clubs.
The support package includes $2000 grants for clubs to buy disinfectant and hand sanitiser plus grants of up to $20,000 to replace fundraising money reduced by coronavirus restrictions.
Families will be given $150 Fair Play vouchers will be available for families who can prove the pandemic hit them financially, to help cover the cost of sport sign up fees.
Queensland is shuffling funds to grant money to sports clubs to make up for coronavirus losses. Pictured: people having fun at Kangaroo Point Cliffs in Brisbane on May 16
Sports Minister Mick de Brenni told reporters the $51.3 million had been redirected from other state government sporting programs not used during the pandemic.
‘This is about making sure that 73,000 households in Queensland that are doing it tough are going to be able to afford to play sport,’ he said on Sunday.
Small groups are expected to be able to play community sport from June 13.
The state government has confirmed sporting clubs can restart ‘small group training’ from June 13 as part of Stage 2 easing of coronavirus restrictions.
Stage 2 allows outdoor gatherings of up to 20 people, as well as non-contact indoor and outdoor community sport.
Queensland students from Years 2 to 10 will return to classrooms on Monday, after five weeks of home-based learning due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The staged end to learning at home began in Queensland on May 11 when kindy, prep, Year 1, Year 11 and Year 12 students returned to school.
A Rockhampton nurse who continued to show up to work at an aged-care home with symptoms of COVID-19 has been referred to Queensland’s anti-corruption body.
The nurse continued working at the North Rockhampton Nursing Centre while she was sick, but before she received test results.
She was suspended while an investigation is underway and is now in home isolation.
However, the health department has also referred her to the Crime and Corruption Commission over an alleged breach of the Chief Health Officer’s directions.
South Australia recorded no new coronavirus cases for the 17th day straight leaving their total unchanged at 439 on Sunday, with four deaths.
One man who caught the dangerous virus on The Ruby Princess cruise ship is still in hospital.
The state’s second stage of easing begins on June 5, and Premier Steven Marshall said the ‘more flexible’ guidelines will be released tomorrow.
Larger hospitality venues with multiple segregated areas will then have a clearer understanding if they can accommodate 20 people per section as opposed to it being the total patron number.
‘We are very open to anything we can do to get businesses back to profitability,’ Mr Marshall said.
South Australia begins stage two of easing on June 5. Pictured: Port Power AFL team training at Alberton Oval on May 18
‘The continued good result and high level of testing have given us a lot of confidence.’
The stage two protocols extend to beauty salons, gyms and churches and will see cinemas and theatres open.
Mr Marshall said the responsibility of interpreting and implementing the guidelines would rest upon individual businesses, ensuring the venue is coronavirus safe.
Despite the state government’s delayed decision and ambiguity around which venues could trade under newly eased restrictions, Mr Marshall said businesses were ‘delighted’ to be open and would not be compensated.
Under the new restrictions, which began on Friday, venues could hold 10 indoor and 10 outdoor seated patrons.
On Friday morning, Mr Marshall clarified only businesses holding a restaurant and catering licence could accommodate the additional 10 customers.
A change was made late Friday afternoon, allowing all venues with a liquor licence, including wineries, pubs and small bars, to trade under the direction.
Plans to reopen the state’s two zoos are also in the final phases, with Adelaide Zoo in the CBD to open first.
Western Australia recorded zero new cases on Sunday to remain at a total of 560 with just two people still sick.
The state is not taking its success for granted, however.
On Saturday Premier Mark McGowan said he would not compromise on closing the state’s border ‘just because we’re asked to by people from over east’.
His comments come after politician and mining billionaire Clive Palmer said he would launch legal action against Western Australia in the High Court, claiming it’s ‘unconstitutional’ that he was denied entry into the state due to coronavirus border closures.
Mr Palmer wanted to meet Senator Mathias Cormann and potential 2021 state election candidates for his United Australia Party, but was rejected.
‘Closing down the border is not only an act of stupidity by WA Premier Mark McGowan, but it is against the Australian constitution and I am confident the High Court will see it that way as well,’ Mr Palmer said on Sunday.
Earlier in the week NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian called for Queensland and WA to consider opening their borders to help stimulate the nation’s economy.
Both Queensland and Western Australia are under Labor Party state governments while Ms Berejiklian is from the rival Liberal Party.
WA Premier Mark McGowan has kept strict border controls in place despite having no new cases and only two people still sick. Pictured: grounded aeroplanes parked at Alice Springs airport on May 15 due to the coronavirus
A May 23 graph showing the vast majority of Australia’s coronavirus patients have now recovered compared to the rest of the world where more than half of those infected are still sick. Australia’s active cases dropped to 504 on Sunday while the recovered rose to 6508
Mr McGowan said the border closure would be one of the last restrictions to be lifted.
‘At this stage no consideration is currently being given to lifting WA’s hard border with the rest of Australia,’ he said.
‘The WA health advice from our chief health officer is clear on this, the hard border has been an effective measure as part of our success in the fight against COVID-19.
AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
No new coronavirus cases were recorded leaving the ACT total unchanged at 107 on Sunday.
There are no active cases in the territory either, as 104 people have recovered and three have died – leaving it virus-free as far as is known.
In the 24 hours to Sunday, 193 people were tested for the virus taking the total number of negative test results to 15,460. There are no active cases in the ACT.
ACT Health continues to advise people to avoid large crowds and limit gatherings to 10 people.
ACT residents are also advised to keep 1.5 metres apart, continue with good hand hygiene and to stay home and get tested if any coronavirus symptoms appear.
No new cases were recorded on Sunday leaving the NT total at 29.
Internal travel restrictions within the NT will be lifted on June 5.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner said on Facebook that the Biosecurity Act would be removed almost two weeks ahead of schedule after consultation with land councils and traditional owners, allowing travel to remote Aboriginal communities.
‘We can lift our biosecurity zones safely because of our strict border controls. It’s been weeks since we’ve had a new case, and Territorians are doing the right thing,’ he said.
Beauty salons will reopen in NSW on June 1. Pictured: Cre8tive Nails owner Rosie Thind with customer Keira Baillie in Darwin, NT, on May 15 where they have already eased restrictions
‘I know it hasn’t been easy, but soon, Territorians will be able to move freely between communities and come into town and return home again without having to quarantine.’
Interstate borders remain closed, however, blocking travellers from driving in from Queensland, WA and South Australia.
The NT economy is heavily reliant on tourism and with borders closed, the government has launched a $200,000 internal campaign dubbed ‘Time to be a Territorian’.
The NT Government is urging NT residents to spend on local holidays to help out tour operators.
Many internal restrictions have already been eased in the NT with beauty salons and gyms open already.
The Apple Isle recorded no new cases for the ninth straight day to remain unchanged at 228 on Sunday.
Tasmanian authorities are not taking the good results for granted and are setting up screening stations to increase testing across the island.
The clinics will operate from 10am from Tuesday to Thursday with pop-up clinics from the following week.
CORONAVIRUS RESTRICTIONS STATE BY STATE
* Western Australia is going further than any other state in relaxing coronavirus rules, the government says, amid a mixed reaction to the state’s economic roadmap.
* Locals are encouraged to return to work and take regional holidays, and the limit is at 20 people, and hospitality businesses will be allowed to serve diners under phase two of WA’s recovery plan.
* The government has faced a backlash for not going further in unwinding restrictions as there are barely any cases in WA.
* Like restaurants and cafes, pubs are allowed to reopen but a limit of 20 patrons will apply as well as the one person per four square metres rule, and a requirement for customers to buy a meal if they want to have a drink.
* Students will return to the classroom from May 29.
* Hard border will remain indefinitely despite pressure from the rest of the country and federal medical advice.
* Parks and reserves have reopened.
* Weddings, funerals can have an unlimited number of guests if social distancing can be maintained.
* Playgrounds, parks and public swimming pools re-opened.
* Gyms, nail salons, and any other businesses have reopened so long as their activities take less than two hours
* Outdoor sports where people can be physically distant, such as golf and tennis, are allowed.
* Pubs, cafes and restaurants opened on May 15. People are allowed in for two hours.
* Internal travel is now allowed including to remote Aboriginal communities
* Dropping the border quarantine will be ‘dead last’.
* Restaurants, pubs and clubs, nail salons and so on can have up to 20 patrons at a time.
* Parks, playgrounds, skateparks are open
* Up to five members from a single household can visit another home, and 10 people can meet in public
* Family picnics and weekend drives allowed, national parks will reopen and people can shop for clothing and shoes, and go for haircuts
* You can let your dog off the leash as 131 dog parks will gradually reopen
* Citizens must stay within 50km of their homes, and social distancing will still be enforced.
* People from the same household can go out together, while those who live alone can spend time with one other person.
* Border quarantine will continue until September but the state is under pressure to drop this much sooner.
* Up to 20 people indoors at a party or gathering as of June 1
* The premier’s beloved game of golf, walking groups, fishing and hiking are among the outdoor activities allowed again.
* Cafes, restaurants and pubs can seat diners until June 1, unlike most other states.
* Libraries, community centres, markets, beauty parlours and tattoo studios open on June 1 as do museums, drive-in cinemas, zoos and theme parks.
* Gyms, indoor sports facilities, movie theatres can reopen from June 22 if all goes to plan allowing ski season to kick off
* Holidays and staying at friend’s place overnight are also banned until June 1 when accommodation will reopen.
* Professional sport teams including AFL and rugby league are back to training ahead of resuming the season in late May.
* Students are expected to be able to get back in the classroom by the end of term two, but more details are yet to be revealed.
* Gatherings of five people inside and 10 in public are allowed.
* Residents can visit national parks within 30km of their home.
* The state’s ban on aged care visits was eased, but no more than two visitors are allowed once a week.
* Restaurants, cafes, playgrounds, pools and boot camps reopened for up to 10 people at a time.
* Weddings and funerals have have up to 20 guests
* Border restrictions, however, are still expected to be in place when stage three of the plan begins in mid-July.
NEW SOUTH WALES
* Cafes, pubs and restaurants are open but may only seat 10 people at a time.
* Gatherings of five people at home and 10 outside are allowed
* The state government is encouraging shops to re-open with social distancing in place
* Pupils went back back to school on May 11 on a roster basis. State government wants full-time classroom teaching sooner rather than later
* Most businesses will be allowed to reopen on June 1, with social distancing rules and customer limits.
* Zoos, reptile parks and aquariums open June 1.
* Weddings can have 10 guests, funerals 20 inside and 30 outside, and churches 10.
* Cafes and restaurants re-opened from May 11 and can seat 10 people inside and another 10 outside at a time. Pubs are shut until June 5.
* Ten people can gather at home or in public.
* Weddings and funerals have a 20 guest limit inside, and 30 outside.
* House auctions and inspections and non-contact sport has resumed and libraries, pools, churches and community halls reopened.
* Border is still quarantined indefinitely.
* Gatherings of 10 people are allowed.
* Weddings and funerals have a 20 guest limit inside, and 30 outside