Australia does not register new cases of COVID-19 for first time in five months

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MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia saw no new daily coronavirus infections in the community on Sunday for the first time in nearly five months, health officials said, paving the way for further easing of restrictions on social distancing.

The state of Victoria, a coronavirus hotspot that accounts for more than 90% of the 907 coronavirus-related deaths in Australia, recorded no new daily infections and no deaths for the second day in a row.

With no new cases of COVID-19 recorded in the rest of the country, Australia has seen its first day without transmission since June 9, Health Minister Greg Hunt said.

“Thank you to all of our wonderful health and public health workers and especially the people of Australia,” Hunt said on his Twitter account.

Swift and tough action combined with community compliance have been credited with reigning in the pandemic before it strained Australia’s public health system.

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

Last week, Victoria ended most of her 111-day lockdown restrictions – some of the toughest and longest in the world – with a recent Ipsos poll commissioned by The Age and Nine News showing the Victorians were backing state management of the pandemic.

Victoria’s health director Brett Sutton hinted on Sunday that the state may see more of its public movement restrictions relaxed in the coming days, but urged more compliance.

“The indemnities that will come… will be absolutely informed of what this week looks like,” Sutton said at a televised press conference.

“Seeing 50,000 cases a day in France, seeing Belgium sending patients out of the country because they are so overwhelmed – that’s what we could have faced if we hadn’t been able to. go out.

Australia has reported just over 27,500 cases since the start of the pandemic due to the rapid closure of its international borders and the imposition of social distancing restrictions and widespread testing and research.

Australia warned its citizens on Friday not to travel to the United States, its main ally, due to the risk of protest violence and coronavirus.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Saturday reported 9,024,298 cases of the novel coronavirus, an increase of 99,750 cases from its previous tally, and said the death toll increased from 1,009 to 229,109.

Reporting by Lidia Kelly; Edited by Michael Perry

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