Western Australia’s streak of no new virus cases has come to an end after a worker at a Perth hotel where returned travellers have been quarantining tested positive to COVID-19 overnight.
Premier Mark McGowan said the case was a 47-year-old man who had been in contact with someone quarantining at the hotel.
“The advice I have is he was working at the Pan Pacific, where as you know, we quarantined a range of people over this period and this gentleman was working there and acquired the illness,” Mr McGowan told reporters this morning.
“He was tested yesterday. There’s currently contact tracing under way. But I think what it shows is it’s extremely contagious and you never know where it’s going to be someone acquiring the illness, which perhaps explains to everyone why we’ve been cautious about what we we’re doing.”
The Premier said West Australians needed to “continue to treat the issue seriously”.
Eight of the state’s 552 cases remain active, with four people in hospital and one in intensive care.
Health Minister Roger Cook yesterday defended the level of proposed restriction relaxation to come into force from May 18 saying the state was anticipating new community cases of the virus.
“We believe it will be inevitable there will be some new cases out there in the community,” he said.
“With these new cases we stand ready, we stand prepared to respond, we can test, we can trace, we can isolate.”
Phase two of the state’s easing of virus restrictions will begin next week, and will see some regional travel restrictions rolled back, public gatherings of up to 20 people allowed and dine-in meals permitted in venues under strict conditions.
Fewer than 20 active cases of COVID-19 remain in Queensland – who yesterday announced they’d again recorded no new coronavirus infections.
Residents have been urged by the State Government to remain vigilant and get tested if they present with any cold or flu-like symptoms, after they enjoyed a weekend with restrictions further eased and students returned to school yesterday.
Newly appointed Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles vowed to continue to stamp out coronavirus.
Today Queensland added six new cases to its tally, taking the total to 1051. But none of them were new cases, but people who were diagnosed in other states but are Queensland residents.
“My immediate focus is continuing Queensland’s world-leading response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Miles said.
“We moved early and we moved strongly, and we continue to keep in place the steps we put in place to keep Queenslanders safe.”
The continuing low rate of coronavirus cases across the state will likely lead to further restrictions being eased.
Australia has recorded more than 6900 cases to date, with fewer than 770 active cases. The national death toll stands at 97.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced 17 new cases of coronavirus in the state.
“There are 1509 cases. That is 17 more than yesterday. The numbers are reconciled by the fact that two positive cases have been reclassified and removed from the list,” Mr Andrews told reporters this morning.
After staying tight-lipped on the matter, the Premier also announced some students in Victoria will return to school in a matter of weeks.
On May 26, classes will resume for prep, Grade 1, Grade 2, Year 11 and Year 12 students.
“This is a staged approach, a staggered approach, both in terms of public health – to limit the number of people that are moving throughout the Victorian community – and also for a whole range of practical reasons, to give schools the appropriate time to move back to face-to-face teaching,” Mr Andrews said.
All Victorian students will be back at school by June 9.
The state has been the last to move on easing restrictions, with Victorians now allowed to have five guests – friends or family – visit their home from 11:59pm tonight until May 31.
Gatherings of 10 people outdoors will also be allowed as long as social distancing is observed.
The Premier’s beloved game of golf, walking groups, fishing and hiking will also be allowed to resume, as will AFL and NRL training, paving the way for both sporting codes to return.
People won’t be allowed to stay at their family and friends’ homes overnight or camp in national parks, some of which are being reopened.
“This is far from over. This is an opportunity for a first step that is safe, cautious and appropriate,” Mr Andrews said.
NEW SOUTH WALES
No new virus cases have been recorded in the last 24 hours in New South Wales for the first time, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced this morning.
Ms Berejiklian urged anyone in the community with even the “mildest symptoms” to come forward and get tested, with the state keen to bump up its level of testing from 6000 tests to 8000.
“As we ease restrictions, there is no doubt the number of cases will increase, and we should measure our success by making sure we have a good level of economic activity and normality in our lives whilst a manageable rate of case numbers,” Ms Berejiklian told reporters this morning.
The staggered approach of returning NSW students to school began yesterday, which she said was a “very smooth” return “by all accounts”.
Over the weekend, the Premier announced that some restrictions would be eased from Friday, May 15.
This includes allowing outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people and the reopening of cafes and restaurants for up to 10 patrons at any one time.
South Australia is edging closer to having no active coronavirus cases as it begins to lift restrictions on daily life.
SA Health reported no new infections yesterday with the state’s total remaining on 439. Only one of those is still considered active.
Another person remains in hospital after recovering from the illness but is no longer infectious.
The state has begun lifting virus restrictions with alcohol-free dining allowed in cafes and restaurants provided the number of patrons is limited to 10.
Next month that will be increased to 20 and alcohol will be permitted along with indoor dining, clearing the way for pubs to open their doors again.
Premier Steven Marshall has also suggested the 20-person limit could be increased to ensure the viability of the hospitality sector.
“We’re sitting down with the industry to work out how we might go even more than that when they open because we want to get them back to being viable,” the Premier said.
“But we’ve got to do it in a safe way.
“There will definitely be limits. We’ve got to take this incrementally. We can’t go from zero to 2000.”
Tasmania has recorded just four new COVID-19 cases this month and no new infections were confirmed today for the fifth day in a row.
Out of the state’s 227 cases, only 27 remain active.
“Tasmanians need to remain vigilant. They need to remain disciplined,” Premier Peter Gutwein told reporters this morning.
“They need to follow the rules. The last thing that we want is a second wave.”
The first stage of a three-step plan out of restrictions is slated to begin on May 18, but the State Government has warned any relaxation of rules depends on public health advice.
“As we go through the recovery phase, increased testing is one of the key pillars,” Health Minister Sarah Courtney told reporters yesterday.
“As we ease restrictions, some people may think that this means the threat has gone away. It has not.”
From next Monday, stage one measures will begin, including allowing gatherings of up to 10 people for indoor and outdoor activities, five visitors allowed in a home, and up to 10 people allowed in restaurants and cafes.
Premier Peter Gutwein has previously said the state will march to its own beat when deciding when to ease restrictions.
– with wires