Australia records zero new COVID-19 cases

Australia reports no new locally transmitted coronavirus cases for the first time in nearly five months.

People dine at a cafe after COVID-19 restrictions were eased in the state of Victoria [File: Sandra Sanders/Reuters]

Australia has recorded no new daily coronavirus community infections on Sunday for the first time in nearly five months, paving the way for further easing of social distancing restrictions.

The state of Victoria, a coronavirus hotspot that accounts for more than 90 percent of Australia’s 907 coronavirus-related deaths, saw zero new daily infections and no deaths for the second consecutive day.

With no new cases of COVID-19 recorded in the rest of the country, Australia saw its first day of no transmissions since June 9, Health Minister Greg Hunt said.

“Thank you to all of our amazing health & public health workers & above all else the Australian people,” Hunt said on Twitter.

Queensland voters gave the incumbent Labor Party a third term on Saturday, showing support for keeping the state’s internal borders closed – which has put the local authorities at odds with the federal government.

Victoria last week ended most of its 111-day lockdown restrictions – some of the world’s toughest and longest – with a recent Ipsos poll commissioned by The Age newspaper and Nine News showing Victorians backed the state’s handling of the pandemic.

Victoria Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton hinted on Sunday the state may see more of its public movement restrictions eased in the coming days but urged further compliance.

“What allowances come … will absolutely be informed by what this week looks like,” Sutton said at a televised press conference.

“To see 50,000 cases a day in France, to see Belgium sending patients outside the country because they’re so overwhelmed – that’s what we might have faced if we hadn’t been able to get on top of it.”

Social media users dubbed it “National Donut Day”, riffing on recent celebrations in Victoria when zero new daily cases were confirmed there and locals proclaimed it “Donut Day”.

There are now less than 200 active cases of coronavirus across Australia, which has recorded just over 27,500 cases and 907 deaths since the pandemic began.

Authorities have now turned their focus to reuniting families split by virus measures, pledging to reopen internal borders and bring thousands of citizens stranded overseas back home before Christmas.

The government on Friday warned its citizens not to travel to the United States, a key ally, because of the risk of protest violence and coronavirus.

Source: News Agencies