All Australian states and territories have begun to lift pandemic restrictions, allowing businesses to begin operating as close to normal once again, and family and friends to socialise outdoors once more.
In addition to this, so far one million Australians have been tested for the CCP virus, and the number of positive results is low compared to other developed nations.
In the last week, there have been 100 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 (11 in the last 24 hours), according to federal Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly on May 18.
There remain around 50 active cases of COVID-19 nationwide, the disease caused by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.
The number of patients that have recovered is 6,367 out of 7,045 that originally tested positive. Meanwhile, the total number of deaths attributed to the CCP virus stands at 99 as of May 18.
The most recent death attributed to the CCP virus was in New South Wales. A man in his 60s who had underlying health conditions contracted the disease from someone he had close personal contact with.
NSW authorities have urged people to keep their distance from each other as social and economic restrictions are eased across the state.
NSW has conducted over 355,700 tests for the CCP virus, the most out of all states and territories.
Victoria became the last jurisdiction to begin lifting restrictions on May 13, giving people back the freedom to enjoy outdoor leisure activities such as boating, and reuniting with friends and family in gatherings up to 10.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has scheduled the restrictions to be lifted in stages. Venues will soon be able to host up to 20 people in an enclosed space from June 1, increasing to 50 from June 22, and to 100 in the second half of July.
McDonald’s has closed 12 outlets across Melbourne after a delivery driver tested positive.
The driver was the extended family member of a worker at the McDonald’s in Fawkner in the city’s north, where a cluster of 10 cases emerged earlier in the month.
A Domino’s pizza outlet has been shut for cleaning after a worker contracted the virus; meanwhile, while the Cedar Meats abattoir linked to 99 cases is beginning to reopen.
Victoria’s figures for virus testing are around 324,000.
Western Australia (WA) is easing some CCP virus restrictions from May 18, allowing more regional travel and 20 people to dine at restaurants, pubs, and cafes. In addition, community pools, libraries, and some regional borders will reopen.
About 130,000 public servants have been encouraged to return to offices and the government is urging other businesses to send staff back to work.
Premier Mark McGowan hopes to further loosen restrictions by June 8, a week earlier than initially expected.
“My view is if the health advice allows it, we should significantly expand the numbers of people able to attend restaurants, cafes, bars, and pubs because clearly 20, while it’s a massive improvement, is not enough for many of them to open or make a profit,” he said.
Three WA patients have recovered, five cases remain active with one person in hospital.
In Tasmania, 10 people will be allowed in cafes and restaurants, at auctions, and in libraries. People are also allowed to gather for real estate purposes, religious congregation, and weddings. Funerals can have up to 30 attendees.
The state recorded no new virus cases over the weekend and just five infections have been confirmed this month.
Premier Peter Gutwein said there is no date forecast for lifting border measures but hopes they can be eased “sometime later this year” depending on public health advice.
“The last thing Tasmanians would want the government to do, would be to open the borders and let the virus back in,” he said.
The deadly hospital outbreak in the northwest, where 12 of 13 of the state’s deaths have occurred, likely originated from returning Ruby Princess passengers, a report released in April found.
Of the 226 COVID-19 cases in Tasmania, just 16 remain active.
States and territories have agreed to eventually reach the third and final stage of the federal government’s three-stage plan to reopen the country by July. Each jurisdiction will progress its reopening at its own pace.