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    No new virus infections in South Australia

    South Australia will end its COVID-19 lockdown on schedule after reporting no new virus infections. Premier Steven Marshall says the result is a "huge relief" and will allow the shutdown to end at one minute past midnight on Wednesday. "So a massive thank you…
  • Coronavirus latest news2

    List of Vic restrictions as lockdown ends

    VICTORIA'S EASED RESTRICTIONS FROM 11:59PM ON TUESDAY: * The 5km travel limit will be removed as well as the stay-at -home requirement. * Movement between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria will be unrestricted. * Masks will be required everywhere…
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    South Australia set to end lockdown

    South Australia will likely end its week-long COVID-19 lockdown on time after reporting one new virus infection linked to the Modbury cluster, Premier Steven Marshall says. The premier says the shutdown will end at one minute past midnight on Wednesday…
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    Victoria to spend another week in lockdown

    Victoria's lockdown will be extended for a further seven days as authorities work to "extinguish" an outbreak of the highly contagious Delta coronavirus variant. The lockdown was initially due to end on Tuesday night, but Premier Daniel Andrews announced…
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    SA to lock down after fifth virus case

    South Australia is moving into a full seven-day lockdown after a cluster of local COVID-19 cases grew to five. The fifth case, a man in his 60s, is someone who dined at a restaurant in Adelaide where previously infected people were also present on Saturday…
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    SA COVID restrictions after virus cases

    South Australia has imposed widespread coronavirus restrictions, including closing all non-essential retail outlets, following the discovery of a second COVID-19 case. The daughter of an 81-year-old man has now tested positive along with her father after the…
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    All of NSW barred from Tassie

    More than half of Australia's population is now banned from entering Tasmania, after the high risk classification of Greater Sydney by public health officials here was expanded to include all of NSW. That state recorded over 100 new cases of coronavirus on…
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    SA tightens Victoria border amid outbreak

    South Australia will enforce tough border restrictions for Victoria and strengthen local COVID-19 rules as interstate case numbers continue to rise. From midnight on Thursday, South Australians returning home from Greater Melbourne, Geelong and Bacchus Marsh…
  • Coronavirus latest news2

    Snap lockdown for Vic to contain outbreak

    Victoria will enter a five-day lockdown in an effort to contain a growing outbreak of the Delta variant of COVID-19 in the state. Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed the lockdown will begin at 11.59pm on Thursday, with people only able to leave home for five…
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    SA has new virus cases but no lockdown

    South Australia has reported five local COVID-19 infections, all involving the family of a miner who recently returned from the Northern Territory. But Premier Steven Marshall says the state will not be going into lockdown. The new cases involve the miner,…
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    SA beefs up local virus rules

    South Australia has imposed a range of new local COVID-19 restrictions in response to the growing number of virus cases around the country. From midnight on Monday masks will be mandatory in high-risk settings, including aged care facilities and hospitals and…
  • Coronavirus update

    On the first day of Tasmania reopening to Greater Melbourne, there have been no new covid infections in Victoria's community. There are still 58 high risk sites in Melbourne on the Tasmanian government website which do entail a ban on entry here. Authorities…
  • DEC

    Returned Tassie traveller from Vic dodges quarantine

    A construction worker at Hobart's Derwent Entertainment Centre who skipped home quarantine having been in Victoria, has escaped with just a caution. His Tas e-Travel application stated he had simply transitted through the COVID "high-risk" state, when in fact…
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    Vic scramble to find Delta virus link

    A man who was infected with the Delta COVID-19 strain mistakenly opened his room door soon after entering hotel quarantine in Melbourne. But Emma Cassar, the head of COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria, says this incident is unlikely to be the reason for the Delta…
  • Coronavirus latest news2

    NSW locations declared "high-risk" by Tas Health

    Victoria's coronavirus cluster is now threatening to impact New South Wales, after confirmation an infected person with the highly infectious Indian variant visited several sites in the state's south. It's prompted a swift high-risk declaration of five…
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    Ardern, Morrison writing COVID rules in NZ

    The Australian and New Zealand leaders say they'll write new pages in the COVID-19 rulebook when they meet for formal talks on Monday. Scott Morrison and Jacinda Ardern are in Queenstown for the annual Australia-New Zealand Leaders Forum. Mr Morrison is…
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    Victoria to enter 7 day circuit breaker lockdown from midnight

    Victoria will begin a seven-day lockdown from midnight, in an effort to contain a COVID-19 outbreak in the northern suburbs that has grown to 26 cases. One of those infected people is in intensive care and Acting Premier James Merlino said they are "not in a…
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    Melbourne set to learn COVID lockdown fate

    Melbourne residents are about to find out if a growing coronavirus cluster in the city's north will trigger another lockdown in the Victorian capital. Acting Premier James Merlino raised the prospect of a shutdown on Wednesday after the so-called Whittlesea…
  • Coronavirus latest news2

    Victorian outbreak sparks vaccine calls

    All eligible Australians are being urged to get vaccinated against coronavirus as a fresh outbreak threatens to spread across Melbourne. Victoria's cluster of cases has climbed to 15, with authorities naming dozens of exposure sites including the MCG where an…
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    Pfizer vaccine coming for 40-49s in NSW

    Around a million people in NSW aged between 40 and 49 could get a Pfizer COVID-19 jab at the new purpose-built vaccination hub at Sydney Olympic Park within weeks. Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the "exciting" development at the opening of the…

Australians face months of virus measures

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Wednesday, March 18, 2020. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) NO ARCHIVING

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Wednesday, March 18, 2020. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) 

Schools will stay open but non-essential indoor gatherings of more than 100 people are now banned as the government rolls out further restrictions to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Australians are also being told not to travel overseas, and strict restrictions will be placed on visitors to aged care homes.

The prime minister also bluntly told Australians to stop hoarding groceries and other supplies.

National coronavirus cases are approaching 460 and five people have died. Some 81,000 people have been tested, 99.5 per cent of whom returned a negative test.

Scott Morrison cautioned the changes to daily life will be a long-haul measure, with the government expecting the virus crisis will roll on for at least six months.

"What we are doing, you have to be able to keep doing that and sustain that," he told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday.

"There is no two-week answer to what we're confronting ...The idea that you can just turn everything off for two weeks and then turn it all back on again and it all goes away, that is not the evidence."

The medical assessment is that schools should stay open, and Mr Morrison and chief medical officer Brendan Murphy warned the consequences of closing schools would be severe.

That could include tens of thousands of jobs lost, Mr Morrison said.

But Professor Murphy said school life would also have to change, with no assemblies, regular hand washing, and strict bans on sick students and teachers.

"It will be hard for schools, but it would be much, much, much harder for society if the schools were closed," he said.

A ban on non-essential indoor gatherings of more than 100 people is effective immediately.

It does not affect public transport, airports, medical facilities, supermarkets and shopping centres, parliaments, courts or jails.

Office buildings, factories, construction or mining sites, schools, universities, child care facilities and hotels are also exempt.

But people should practice social distancing in all these areas, keeping a space of 1.5 metres between themselves and others.

"Every citizen now has to think about every interaction they have with another person during the day," Professor Murphy said.

"No more hand-shaking. No more hugging except in your family ... No more scant attention to hand hygiene."

Strict rules around visitors at aged care facilities are also now in place, barring anyone who has recently travelled, sick people, children except in exceptional circumstances, and from May 1 anyone who hasn't had a flu vaccination.

Only one daily visit of at most two people per resident is allowed.

But Mr Morrison said the new restrictions did not mean Australians should be panicking and certainly not stripping supermarket shelves bare.

"Stop hoarding," he said.

"It is not sensible, it is not helpful and it has been one of the most disappointing things I have seen in Australian behaviour in response to this crisis."

The Department of Foreign Affairs has updated its travel advice for the second time in 24 hours, now telling all Australians not to travel overseas.

Anyone already overseas is being urged to return home as soon as possible.

The majority of new coronavirus cases in Australia are still among people who have brought it back from overseas or people in close contact with travellers.

All people arriving from overseas must self-quarantine for 14 days and cruise ships are barred from Australian ports for at least 30 days.

The federal government has flagged another round of economic stimulus measures on top of a $17.6 billion package announced last week.

This includes a $715 million assistance package for airlines like Qantas and Virgin Australia that will give the carriers relief from airport fees and other aviation industry charges.

The states and territories have developed their own economic packages to lessen the economic blow from the spread of COVID-19, which is set to crush major industries and hurt workers.

© AAP 2020

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