Refresh this page for updates – scroll down for links to official health information.
- Some SA restrictions lifted today
- Victoria eases restrictions, with knock-on effects for AFL
- Australia “still at risk”
- Italy’s daily toll falls
No new cases in SA today
SA Health has decided to stop its daily media conference about COVID-19, instead posting the latest figures on social media platform Twitter.
This afternoon, it reported there were no new cases of the virus recorded in SA.
There is one active case of COVID-19 in the state, while the total number of cases remains at 439. Of these, 434 have been cleared, one person remains in hospital, and four people have died.
Easing pub restrictions could be fast-tracked
South Australian pubs and restaurants may be cut some slack and allowed to host more patrons from June as the state government works with industry representatives to ensure the viability of the sector.
With indoor dining to be allowed from June 8, Premier Steven Marshall has suggested cafes, restaurants, pubs and clubs may be allowed to go beyond next stage limits.
When the second stage of virus restrictions are lifted next month, venues will be allowed to serve alcohol and can host up to 20 people at a time, provided social distancing provisions are maintained.
But the hotel industry believes that still might not cut it for many venues and Marshall told reporters on Monday a higher number was being considered.
“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.
However, Marshall said some limits would still be imposed to avoid the need to reimpose fresh restrictions in the future.
“The industry tells us that the last thing that they need is to reopen for business only to have to shut down a few weeks later,” he said.
“We’ve seen this happen in other places around the world where they’ve gone too early only to have to clamp down.
“That would be disastrous for small business in South Australia.”
Marshall said the government was working with the hotel industry to return venues to viability as quickly as possible.
“But we’ve got to do it in a safe way,” he said.
“There will definitely be limits. We’ve got to take this incrementally. We can’t go from zero to 2000.
“We’ve made it really clear we are going to take this at our own pace.”
Measures lifted today – but social distancing required
In virus measures lifted on Monday, all country accommodation across SA can open, including caravan parks, hotels, motels and Airbnb services.
Alcohol-free outdoor dining at cafes and restaurants and the resumption of outdoor sports training will also be permitted, all with a 10-person limit.
Universities and TAFE colleges are free to resume face-to-face learning, public swimming pools, places of worship and libraries can reopen, and open house inspections and home auctions will be permitted.
SA health officials have also urged South Australians to continue to do the right thing in terms of good hygiene and social distancing.
They said with restrictions being eased, the likelihood of new virus cases spreading would be “that much further and faster”.
AFL training group sizes set to increase
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has given the state’s 10 AFL clubs special exemptions to train in large groups, provided they are contained to exclusive facilities.
But the Victorian clubs could be forced to wait for interstate rivals to be granted similar exemptions from their state governments.
Until now, the AFL has limited all players to training in pairs despite some state governments – such as South Australia and Western Australia – allowing for groups of up to 10 people in outdoor activities.
The AFL’s limit of two across the competition was the cause of some angst amongst clubs, but was defended by league officials as being imposed for the sake of competitive fairness.
The AFL has been firm on the need to create a level playing field for all clubs in its return-to-play plans, which are in the process of being finalised and could be released as soon as Tuesday afternoon.
Andrews on Monday announced changes to Victoria’s coronavirus restrictions, which will officially be in place by 11.59pm on Tuesday and run until May 31.
The changes included matching other states’ limits of 10 people for outdoor activities, which Victorian Premier Andrews said included “kicking a footy”.
But the Victorian government has gone further for professional sporting organisations, including AFL clubs, confirming exemptions that would allow them to operate in larger groups.
The caveat is that their training venues must not be accessible to anyone not associated with their organisations.
“If they’re using a training facility, an indoor gym for instance, or an outdoor area, it must be exclusively for them,” Andrews said.
PM warns Australia remains at virus risk
Scott Morrison has warned against dangerous predictions Australia has conquered coronavirus as business and industry restrictions begin to ease.
The prime minister is also downplaying suggestions the $130 billion JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme could be scaled back or scrapped ahead of its six-month life.
Morrison last week pointed to a review of the program in June, but on Monday said talk of changes was premature.
“We are six weeks in to a six-month program,” he told reporters in Canberra.
“The impact of the virus, how it will impact on Australia in the months ahead with a reopening economy is very much a work in progress. That’s why we put this six-month lifeline in place.”
He said getting people back to work and businesses open again was paramount.
“When that happens, there will be no need for those levels of income support.”
Morrison said the health implications of easing some restrictions were uncertain, with measures to stop the spread of infection to come under the microscope.
“Australians have to remain on their guard,” he said.
He said suggesting the virus had been beaten because economic clamps were being lifted was dangerous.
“The virus is still out there – it hasn’t gone anywhere,” he said.
“There may be 700 or so active cases in Australia now, but Australia is still very much at risk.”
Italy virus death toll and new cases fall
Deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy have risen by 165 against 194 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency says as the daily tally of new cases fell to 802 from 1083 on the prior day.
The total death toll since the outbreak came to light on February 21 now stands at 30,560 the agency said on Sunday, the third-highest in the world after those of the United States and Britain.
It was the lowest daily death toll since March 9, although in recent weeks of the epidemic the daily death count has tended to fall on Sundays only to rise again on the following day.
For the first time since early March new cases were under 1000 with the total number of confirmed cases amounting to 219,070, the third-highest global tally behind those of the United States and Spain.
People registered as currently carrying the illness fell to 83,324 from 84,842 the day before.
There were 1027 people in intensive care on Sunday, edging down from 1034 on Saturday, maintaining a long-running decline.
Of those originally infected, 105,186 were declared recovered against 103,031 a day earlier.
The agency said 1.676 million people had been tested for the virus against 1.645 million on Saturday, out of a population of about 60 million.
On Monday, Italy started to gradually lift draconian restrictions the government had imposed in early March to contain the outbreak, allowing people to leave their homes more freely and companies to reopen.
OFFICIAL SOURCES OF ADVICE AND INFORMATION
Local updates and resources
State Government central information
Mental health support line (8am to 8pm): 1800 632 753.
National advice and information
Australian Government Coronavirus information hotline: 1800 020 080
Government information via WhatsApp: click here
Australian Government travel advice: smartraveller.gov.au
Check your symptoms
Free, government-funded, health advice: healthdirect.gov.au
– Reporting by InDaily staff, AAP and Reuters
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