Australia Makes Progress on Virus Response

By AAP
May 29, 2020 Updated: May 29, 2020

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says progress is being made on restoring the economy as inroads are made in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most state and territory leaders told a national cabinet meeting on May 29 they were hopeful of getting to stage three of the reopening by the end of July.

Stage three involves gatherings of 100 people and reopening of state borders to travellers.

The Northern Territory will be the first to achieve stage three, setting a June 5 date, while Western Australia is hopeful of reaching that point mid-June.

Queensland has set out a timetable to hit stage two on June 12 and stage three on July 10, with Tasmania reaching that point three days later.

Victoria has pencilled in late-July for stage three, while South Australia and NSW have made no promises.

The ACT is aiming for mid-July.

“We’re on track and we’re making progress far sooner than we could have ever imagined several months ago,” Morrison said.

The prime minister and premiers signed a $131 billion hospital deal on Friday and pledged to keep the national cabinet going as a series of monthly meetings after the pandemic.

As well treasurers will now have responsibility for national partnership agreements on services – like hospitals – which carve up billions.

Morrison said he remained optimistic interstate travel would restart nationally by July.

NSW is preparing to ease restrictions on religious services, funerals and weddings from Monday, bringing the rules closer to pubs and restaurants.

Victoria has announced tough measures to stop bosses forcing workers back to the office, with employees told they must work from home if possible.

Queensland authorities are continuing to investigate the mysterious case of Australia’s youngest coronavirus victim, Nathan Turner, who died aged 30 in the small mining town of Blackwater.

Australia’s COVID-19 death toll is 103, with fewer than 500 active cases remaining from more than 7150 infections.

Paul Osborne