More Than Four Million Downloaded COVIDSafe As PM Dangles Easing Restrictions
The number of people downloading the COVIDSafe app has now topped four million, a positive response as the national cabinet considers lifting restrictions.
As some states start to ease restrictions and the national cabinet prepares to consider lifting some broader curbs next week the prospect of a visit to the pub to watch a game of footy is seemingly edging ever closer.
The Australian Border Force (ABF) has given the go-ahead for players and staff from the New Zealand Warriors rugby league team to travel to Australia to take part in a proposed National Rugby League competition to start in late May.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said the ABF commissioner had carefully considered the request from the NZ Warriors, and advice from the Chief Medical Officer, that 36 foreign nationals do not pose a risk of serious harm to public health in Australia.
On Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison also floated the prospect of pubs reopening if enough people download the coronavirus tracing app.
Dr Kidd said more than four million have now registered for the COVIDSafe app, which uses Bluetooth connections to determine who infected people came into close contact with.
He believes it is "realistic" to expect millions more to sign up before the national cabinet sits next Friday to consider lifting restrictions.
Australian Medical Association president Tony Bartone cautioned the NRL and other sporting codes against rushing to start or restart competitions until medical experts say it is safe to do so.
While the lifting of restrictions will be a relief to many Australians after weeks of isolation, federal opposition frontbencher Andrew Giles believes people are equally concerned of a "second wave" of a virus that other countries thought they had under control.
Just under 6800 virus cases have been reported across the country, with the death toll standing at 93 - extremely low by international standards. As Queensland eased some restrictions, state health officials have issued a public health alert after a Qantas flight passenger was diagnosed with COVID-19.
NSW has also eased some restrictions, but its health authorities are investigating possible breaches of infection control at a Sydney aged care facility at the centre of a coronavirus cluster.
Of the five new COVID-19 cases in the state over the last 24 hours, two were recorded at Anglicare's Newmarch House.
There have been 61 cases and 13 deaths related to transmission at the western Sydney facility.
Meanwhile, a new coronavirus outbreak has been uncovered in a Melbourne meat processing facility, as authorities warn Victoria's progress in fighting the pandemic remains "incredibly fragile".
Seven new cases have been confirmed in Victoria.
Health Minister Jenny Mikako revealed eight staff at a meat processing facility had tested positive to COVID-19, including three overnight.