Australia’s coronavirus death toll has risen to 76, with more than 6600 virus cases across the country.
Victoria’s death toll rose to 16 after a man in his 60s died from the virus. NSW also recorded another death after a 79-year-old woman died at a Sydney nursing home this morning.
She is the fourth resident at Newmarch House in Caddens to die from COVID-19 in the past week.
There are 6600 confirmed virus cases in Australia, with 2976 in New South Wales, 1337 in Victoria, 1026 in Queensland, 438 in South Australia, 546 in Western Australia, 205 in Tasmania, 104 in the Australian Capital Territory and 28 in the Northern Territory.
WHAT WE KNOW
Crew on board the Ruby Princess cruise ship hung a thank you sign on the back of the vessel as it prepared to leave Australian waters today.
This comes as a special commission of inquiry into the Ruby Princess heard the doctor on the ship told authorities there was no risk of coronavirus infection on board when it arrived in Sydney.
RELATED: Follow the latest coronavirus updates
media_cameraThe Ruby Princess cruise ship is watched by a small gathering of residents as it departs Port Kembla in Wollongong. Picture: Dean Lewins/AAP
Today, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg issued a warning to employers planning to claim the Government’s JobKeeper payment for their staff.
Mr Frydenberg said it was essential that employers pay their staff before receiving the payment despite issues many are facing in coming up with the funds to do so.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said US President Donald Trump is “pretty impressed” by Australia’s handling of the pandemic.
The two leaders shared a phone call on Wednesday to discuss their respective responses to the outbreak and how each country was tracking.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has asked the NRL to send her justification as to why rugby league should be allowed to return next month, following the announcement the season would be restarting on May 28.
Ms Palaszczuk said she has so far not heard from the NRL about how it plans to adhere to social distancing measures and comply with border closures.
Meanwhile, supermarket shelves appear to finally be returning to normal, with some shoppers even reporting big discounts on once coveted items.
Coles told news.com.au certain meat items had been slashed in price after the supermarket giant experienced an oversupply as shopping habits returned to normal.
media_cameraEven toilet paper is finally returning to shelves.
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW
Though Australia appears to have flattened the curve of the coronavirus outbreak, the nation’s chief medical officer has warned there is still a risk of a second wave of the virus.
Brendan Murphy told a Senate inquiry into the Federal Government’s coronavirus response that authorities are keeping a close eye on Singapore, which initially tracked well but is now dealing with a surge in cases.
“They had a very similar approach to us but they’ve now had a second wave in their migrant worker population,” he said on Thursday.
“We have to be very, very aware that whilst we’ve only had seven cases over the last 24 hours, we’re in a wonderful position, but there is a permanent risk of further waves.
“This is a highly infectious virus and it can take off fairly quickly.”
Professor Murphy said the most effective decisions to curb the spread of the virus were shutting the nation’s borders and ensuring returning Australians were quarantined in hotels.
He said reopening the borders would “absolutely” be the last measure to be eased, with no changes for at least three to four months.
“The international situation at the moment is such that any relaxation of border measures would be very risky,” he said.