Children in South Australia will soon be able to return to playgrounds and in New South Wales, real estate watchers could be heading to open homes and auctions as soon as next weekend, as some state governments announce further easing of restrictions.
This story is being updated regularly throughout Sunday. You can also stay informed with the latest episode of the Coronacast podcast.
Stay up-to-date on the coronavirus outbreakEasing of coronavirus restrictions for several states
South Australian playgrounds will reopen after the state recorded 10 days without a new coronavirus case.
South Australia’s Chief Public Health Officer, Nicola Spurrier, has recommended reopening parks, playgrounds and equipment from today.
Many councils had taped off playgrounds and outdoor fitness equipment.
Here’s how coronavirus restrictions are easing in some states
It’s up to each jurisdiction which restrictions they ease, and when, and how, but we’ve answered some commonly-asked questions about what you can and can’t do for now.
In a letter to councils, Dr Spurrier said there was minimal risk of contamination due to the low cases of coronavirus in South Australia and the absence of community transmission.
But she advised councils to employ strict hygiene measures and display signage to reinforce distancing and gathering rules.
From next weekend, real estate agents in New South Wales will be able to resume traditional property inspections and on-site auctions after it was temporarily shut down six weeks ago.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the industry had been “adaptable to transitioning” to online auctions and remote viewings.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the community did an “outstanding job” in limiting the spread of COVID-19 but urged people to continue social distancing.
“Real estate agents should limit the number of people viewing a property and attending an auction, follow stringent cleaning and safety guidelines, ensure clients do not touch surfaces and always have hand sanitiser.”
The announcements came as residents in Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory started easing coronavirus restrictions this weekend.
In the Northern Territory, police applauded the behaviour of Top Enders who flocked to Howard Springs Nature Park, Litchfield National Park and Gunn Point after restrictions lifted.
“We’re happy to say those attending these areas have been well behaved and following physical distancing,” Incident Controller Acting Commander Shaun Gill said.
Warren Buffett says ‘nothing can stop America’
Warren Buffett gave an upbeat assessment of the United States’ ability to withstand crises, even as he acknowledged that the coronavirus pandemic could have a wide range of impacts on the economy.
The 89-year-old spoke at the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, which was held virtually for the first time, without shareholders, because of the pandemic.
Mr Buffett said the potential impact of the pandemic, which has already battered the global economy, had a “extraordinarily wide” range.
Warren Buffett has backed the United States economy to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic.(AP: Nati Harnik/File)
But he maintained his usual optimism that the United States would weather it successfully, citing its emergence from crises such as World War II and the influenza pandemic a century ago.
“This is quite an experiment,” Mr Buffett said.
“I remain convinced … that nothing can basically stop America.”
The annual meeting began several hours after Berkshire reported a record $US49.75 billion ($77.47 billion) first-quarter net loss, reflecting huge unrealised losses on common stock holdings such as Bank of America Corp and Apple during the market meltdown.
Australia still below benchmark 20 cases a day, Chief Medical Officer says
Australia now has 6,801 confirmed coronavirus cases, an increase of 18 in the past 24 hours, Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy has said at a coronavirus briefing today.
“We’re keeping below our 20 cases a day but there are still new cases,” Professor Murphy said.
“There’s still some evidence of low-level community transmission, which is why we have been saying we cannot be complacent.
“We’ve 633,000 tests done now … once we’ve had really good, strong testing, that will make us more confident about relaxing restrictions.”
Professor Murphy said 4.25 million Australians had downloaded the Government’s COVIDSafe app.
Brendan Murphy said National Cabinet always recognised jurisdictions would take measures above the baseline.(ABC News: Tamara Penniket)
“We think there are about 16 million adults with smartphones, that is our target population, because they are people who are likely to be contacts of cases.”
Professor Murphy said officials “are still a little bit anxious about the capacity to get on top of contacts as quickly as possible”.
He went on to address the issue of school closures after Victoria said its health advice, not the Federal Government, would determine when pupils returned.
“Our advice has not changed … there is data that shows children are not high transmitters of the virus in a school environment,” Professor Murphy said.
This chart uses a logarithmic scale to highlight coronavirus growth rates. Read our explainer to understand what that means — and what we can learn from countries that have slowed the spread.
“There is a potential risk for adults … so we have recommended a range of mitigations to ensure those risks can be reduced.”
He added: “I think the National Cabinet has always recognised that jurisdictions will take measures above the national baseline.
“There are differences across the nation but in general they are at the margins. The National Cabinet has taken a consistent view that they want to get schools open for face-to-face learning.”
Professor Murphy said universities may recommence soon, without pre-empting the decisions of National Cabinet.
These states have announced their daily numbers of new cases:
Western Australia: 0 New South Wales: 4 Queensland: 1Victoria: 13South Australia: 0Australian Capital Territory: 0Northern Territory: No update yetAsian nations further relax social distancing rules
South Korea will continue to ease coronavirus-related restrictions on May 6, allowing a phased reopening of businesses, the Prime Minister has said.
The country has largely managed to bring the outbreak under control, leader Chung Sye-kyun said today.
“[The Government] will allow businesses to resume at facilities in phases that had remained closed up until now, and also allow gatherings and events to take place assuming they follow disinfection guidelines,” he told a televised meeting of officials.
South Korea has largely succeeded in bringing coronavirus under control according to the Prime Minister.(Reuters: Heo Ran)
In Thailand, parks have already been reopened, along with small shops and restaurants as authorities begin a phased easing.
Beaches and swimming pools will remain closed as well as cinemas, bars and other entertainment venues.
Masks must be worn and temperature checks will be part of the new way of life.
Japan could be next to ease its curbs on economic activity by allowing places such as parks and museums to reopen, provided proper preventive measures were in place, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said today.
The Government is set to announce the extension of its state of emergency tomorrow after struggling to suppress the spread of coronavirus.
“As long as the proper preventive measures are in place, it could be possible to ease some of the current restrictions on economic activities,” Mr Nishimura said at a news conference today.
Places like parks, museums, art galleries, and libraries could reopen even in the 13 prefectures where coronavirus has spread rapidly, if they take steps to disinfect their premises and ensure visitors maintain their distance, he added.
Further details on how restrictions might be eased would be discussed at a meeting on Monday, Mr Nishimura said.
Bolsonaro says ‘I don’t do miracles’ when asked about Brazil death toll Jair Bolsonaro has consistently downplayed the severity of the crisis.(AP: Eraldo Peres)
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has drawn criticism for responding “so what?” when asked about the fact that more than 6,000 Brazilians have died of COVID-19.
Observers believe the country, which is Latin America’s largest nation, is rapidly becoming one of the world’s coronavirus hot spots.
At least 6,300 Brazilians have died.
But Mr Bolsonaro has shown no sign of wavering from his insistence that COVID-19 is a relatively minor disease and that broad social-distancing measures are not needed to stop it.
He has said only Brazilians at high risk should be isolated and recently fired a health minister who had supported tough anti-virus measures and replaced him with an advocate for reopening the economy.
“So what? I’m sorry. What do you want me to do?” Mr Bolsonaro said when asked this week about Brazil’s death toll surpassing 5,000 — more than China.
He joked that even though his middle name is Messias, or Messiah, “I don’t do miracles”.
Principal says school only open for students whose parents have ‘no other option’
A Hobart school principal is urging parents not to send their children unless they have no other option.
St Mary’s College principal Helen Spencer said the school could not cope with too many children returning to the classroom while so many teachers were working to provide online schooling.
Ms Spencer has written to parents to remind them the only acceptable reasons to send a child to school were if the parents were “essential workers” or “unable to supervise them”.
St Mary’s College Hobart principal Helen Spencer only wants students at school if it is necessary.(ABC News)
Ms Spencer claimed she had heard reasons for sending children included children missing their friends, and parents needing time with other children or to finish household chores.
“We understand if you have no option other than to send your child or children to school … That’s OK,” she wrote.
“We are open to students for this purpose.
“I ask that if you have the option to keep your child at home, however, can you please do so?
“As long as the Tasmanian Government and Catholic Education Tasmania tell us it’s learning from home, this is how it needs to be.”
She said the message was directed at about 30 families.
Ms Spencer warned as more children attended school, educators teaching both students at home and on site were put under greater strain.
St Mary’s is a Catholic college primary to secondary aged girls.
Another coronavirus death at Western Sydney nursing home The Newmarch House aged care home has been the centre of a cluster of coronavirus cases.(ABC News: Lily Mayers)
A 14th resident has died at Newmarch House, the coronavirus-hit aged care home in Western Sydney.
The death was confirmed by the home’s operator, Anglicare Sydney.
The total confirmed cases at the facility in Caddens is 61, with 37 residents and 24 staff infected with the virus.
Four new coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the past 24 hours, including another two healthcare workers.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard announced there would be a daily testing regime for every staff member who enters the facility.
Anglicare Sydney said it had brought in infection control specialists to look at all protocols and advise of additional procedures.
Opposition Leader Jodi McKay has called for the outbreak to be treated as a public health crisis.
Federal Education Minister walks back criticism of Victorian Premier Education Minister Dan Tehan had called for children to return to schools in all states.(ABC News: Nick Haggarty)
Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan has admitted he “overstepped the mark” when he called for Victorian parents to ignore their Premier earlier today.
In an interview with the ABC’s Insiders program, Mr Tehan accused Premier Daniel Andrews of taking a “sledgehammer” to the state’s education sector as tension bubbled over between the state and federal governments.
Mr Tehan also accused Mr Andrews of a “failure of leadership” over his refusal to reopen the state’s schools, saying the Premier was “jeopardising the national consensus”.
The Education Minister has since issued a statement, saying he overstepped the mark in venting his personal frustrations and withdraws his criticism of Mr Andrews’ leadership.
The Prime Minister wants all public schools to return to face-to-face learning by June, but Victoria has insisted it would make its own decisions about when to encourage parents to send children back to classrooms.
“The question to Daniel Andrews, sure, take a sledgehammer to defeating coronavirus, but why are you taking a sledgehammer to the state education system?” Mr Tehan told Insiders.
Victorian state schools, which remain open, have been running online learning for up to 97 per cent of students this term.
That’s based on the advice from Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton, who has warned restarting teaching in classrooms now could jeopardise the state’s progress in reducing coronavirus transmission.
Shortly after Mr Tehan’s comments on Insiders, Victoria’s Education Minister announced a school in Melbourne’s north would be temporarily shutting due to a confirmed case of COVID-19.
Jenny Mikakos said a teacher from Meadowglen Primary School in Epping had tested positive and that the school would be closed between Monday and Wednesday for cleaning and to allow contact tracing.
“Students who need to attend in person and have no other option … will be supported to be able to attend a neighbouring school,” she said.
WA records one new COVID-19 death
An 83-year-old Western Australian woman has died after contracting COVID-19 from a close contact.
She had been admitted to hospital in mid-April and had pre-existing medical conditions.
She is the ninth person in the state to die from the virus, including four people from the Artania cruise ship.
It came as Western Australia recorded its fourth consecutive day with no new COVID-19 cases, meaning there have only been two more confirmed cases in the past week.
NZ Warriors player stays in Auckland due to illness
The NZ Warriors say centre David Fusitu’a and hooker Nathaniel Roache have remained in Auckland today but the rest of the squad has flown out for Australia to prepare for the resumption of the 2020 NRL season.
Roache was ordered to stay home after contacting medical staff this morning to say he was unwell. He was instructed to take a test for COVID-19 immediately.
Meanwhile Fusitu’a has been granted permission to delay his departure on compassionate grounds.
“Nate called the club first thing this morning saying he wasn’t feeling well,” Warriors chief executive Cameron George said.
“He was instructed to have a test immediately and was told not to report at the airport as he would not be travelling with the team.
“We’re totally satisfied Nate has had no contact with any other player or staff member at the club for several weeks and we’re very comfortable we have abided by all policies and requirements.
“David has stayed behind for a personal matter and will fly to Tamworth as soon as possible.”
The rest of the playing squad and football staff flew out to Tamworth on their charter flight at 3:00pm.
Spain makes masks compulsory Spaniards were able to go outdoors to do exercise for the first time since the lockdown began seven weeks ago.(AP: Bernat Armangue)
Spain’s government will make face masks mandatory on public transport from Monday, as it looks to further ease coronavirus restrictions.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said the government would distribute 6 million masks and provide another 7 million to local authorities.
The move comes as millions of Spaniards took another step towards freedom with adults allowed to exercise outside for the first time in seven weeks.
There are now exercise time slots for different age groups to avoid crowding.
For children under 14, the lockdown was eased last week.
Spain remains among the world’s worst affected countries, with 24,543 deaths and 213,435 confirmed cases as of Sunday morning.
This chart uses a logarithmic scale to highlight coronavirus growth rates. Read our explainer to understand what that means — and what we can learn from countries that have slowed the spread.Protests against coronavirus restrictions continue in USA Some Oregon residents regard the coronavirus restrictions as government overreach.(AP: Andrew Selsky)
Hundreds opposed to Oregon’s stay-at-home order have demonstrated at the state Capitol as health officials announced dozens more cases and five additional deaths from COVID-19.
Most of the protesters did not wear face masks, but they waved American flags and Trump campaign signs in the rain.
Other signs read “Reopen Oregon” and “Let me earn a living”.
A group of healthcare workers demonstrated at the top of the Capitol steps, urging a phased plan to ease the state’s social distancing requirements. Most of the other protesters ignored them.
Public health officials say stay-at-home orders are essential for slowing the transmission of the novel coronavirus.
But protest organisers told The Oregonian/OregonLive that they viewed the social distancing mandates issued by Governor Kate Brown as government overreach.
Since mid-March, Ms Brown’s orders have closed many businesses, put some parks and campgrounds off limits, and required public schools to adopt distance learning programs.
“You can’t just place citizens under house arrest and enforce those orders,” event organizer Adam Ellifritt said.
Boris Johnson’s son named for doctors who ‘saved’ his life A photo posted by Boris Johnson’s fiance Carrie Symonds shows her holding the newborn Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson.(Supplied: Carrie Symonds/Instagram)
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his fiancée Carrie Symonds have named their newborn son Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas, partly as a tribute to two of the intensive care doctors who they say saved the British leader’s life as he battled COVID-19 complications.
Ms Symonds announced the name on Instagram beside a picture of her and the boy — who already has thick hair resembling the blond thatch of his father.
Ms Symonds, 32, said Wilfred, who was born on Wednesday, was named after Mr Johnson’s grandfather while Lawrie came from her grandfather.
Your questions on coronavirus answered:
Nicholas, Ms Symonds said, was a nod to Nick Price and Nick Hart — two doctors who treated Mr Johnson. He has thanked healthcare workers at St Thomas’s hospital who, he said, had “saved my life, no question”.
“I couldn’t be happier,” Ms Symonds said, adding her thanks to the maternity staff of University College London Hospital.
“My heart is full.”
Mr Johnson returned to work on Monday after recuperating from COVID-19, which had left him gravely ill in intensive care at the peak of the coronavirus outbreak.
The United Kingdom’s COVID-19 death toll rose 621 to 28,131 as of May 1, just short of Italy, which has so far had the world’s second most deadly outbreak of the disease after the United States.
Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.WatchDuration: 1 minute 25 seconds1m 25s Boris Johnson thanks the National Health Service for saving his life as he battled COVID-19What you need to know about coronavirus:Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume. The Virus: We could be in for an ‘early mark’ on physical distancing measures