Coronavirus Australia live news: National Cabinet meets, Scott Morrison says safe workplaces need to get Australians back to work

Coronavirus Australia live news: National Cabinet meets, Scott Morrison says safe workplaces need to get Australians back to work

Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy says not enough is known about COVID-19 to provide a 12-month strategy on relaxing restrictions.

He provided an update about the coronavirus response after today’s National Cabinet meeting.

Earlier this afternoon, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia needed to get 1 million people back to work in a COVID-19 safe workplace.

Follow the latest updates in our live coronavirus blog.

Live updates

By Daniel Colasimone

Ah, random hugging. As in the closing moments of the Freo craft beer festival? It seems like YEARS ago now, packed away as a find memory of the glorious golden preCovid19 era


I’ve never heard of the Freo craft beer festival, Shell, but a single tear just rolled down my face for all the things we’ve lost. 

By Daniel Colasimone

Hi guys, thanks for all the amazing coverage today. Lots of press conferences and announcements to keep on top of! Just wondering whether the graphs the PM spoke to in today’s conference have been released?


No problem at all. We’ll definitely get you the graphs as soon as they land in my hands.  

By Daniel Colasimone

13 days straight with no new cases in SA

South Australia has recorded a 13th day with no new coronavirus cases.

Only five active cases remain with two people in hospital.

429 people have recovered from the virus.


The Premier Steven Marshall says SA is in a unique position for a COVIDSafe return to normal with the fewest cases, a zero rate of infection and the highest number of students back at school.

By Daniel Colasimone

BREAKING: Another Newmarch House resident dies

Another resident has died from COVID-19 at Sydney nursing home Newmarch House, bringing the total number of coronavirus deaths at the home to 16.

The operators of the nursing home have not revealed the age or identity of the latest victim.

Anglicare Sydney has released a statement:

Anglicare Sydney is deeply saddened to announce that a resident at Newmarch House who had tested positive for COVID-19 has passed away this morning. The family has been contacted and all relevant authorities have been notified. We extend our sincere condolences to the family for whom this is both distressing and tragic. 


The incredibly contagious nature of the virus is evidenced by the fact that in the last 24 hours three staff members of Newmarch House have tested positive. They are now selfisolating. The positive test results were discovered during our daily, rigorous testing regime which is now being applied to all staff working at Newmarch House prior to the commencement of their shifts.  

Anglicare Sydney appreciates the expertise being provided by infection control specialists which have been generously provided by government.  

Our team are working tirelessly to contain this virus which continues to have a devastating effect on residents, families and staff at Newmarch House.  

By Daniel Colasimone

‘I don’t think we will be shaking hands for a long time’

Brendan Murphy:

“I think it is unlikely that we will be able to have very large, close-packed crowds until we have got rid of this virus. So unfortunately I can’t see 100,000 people packing a grand final of football but I think we can do a lot – but as we get more and more confident and as people start behaving differently, we can start to do more.


“So I wouldn’t want a crystal ball too far ahead but I don’t think we will be shaking hands and randomly hugging and getting crowded in rooms for a long time.”

I’m going to miss random hugging.

By Daniel Colasimone

We don’t know why, but children are not transmitting this virus, Murphy says



“There is now an increasing amount of data that, particularly younger kids, don’t seem to get the infection, and even when they do there is now a number of studies that show they do not seem to be transmitting to their fellow classmates in the school. We don’t know why. It is a very unusual feature of this virus but all of the data that we’ve seen, both in Australia an in other parts of the world suggest that children are not transmitting this virus, which is a wonderful thing.”

By Daniel Colasimone

Here’s Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy

He says he is just going to give a brief general health update today.

The numbers:

  • Current number of cases in Australia is 6,849
  • There have been 96 deaths
  • There was an increase of 25 cases over the last 24 hours
  • The slight increase in the number of cases is mostly related to the Victorian meatworks outbreak
  • There are still 27 people in intensive care, with 20 on ventilators
  • 665,000 tests have been carried out


Mr Murphy says Australia has a good supply line of tests now. 


“We have a diversified supply line, we have enough tests to do all of the expansions that we want to do, certainly we’ve got sufficient supply over coming months and we are diversifying  our supply lines. So we want to continue to increase our testing numbers. We’re still not at the level we want to be at. The challenge with this virus is that nobody really knows what the long-term future holds. Our strategy at the moment is to keep Australians safe over the next two to three to four months whilst safely relaxing restrictions so that we can get on with economic activity and our lives in a COVID-safe way.”

By Daniel Colasimone

NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner on the easing of lockdown measures


“We had a simple request over the weekend, don’t do a Bondi and you didn’t do a Bondi. You got out and backed locals and did it safely. In some ways this long weekend was a bit of a test and we passed that test with flying colours, so thank you, you are all legends.”


“Stage 1 done, Stage 2 to come. So far, so good. But nobody is celebrating early. There is still a long way to go.”

Key Event

The key points from today’s National Cabinet press conference:


  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison says his priority is now getting 1 million Australians back to work – “that is the curve we must now address”
  • Mr Morrison says the Government is “under no illusions” about the extent of the economic hit
  • More than 1 million Australians will have had claims processed for JobSeeker, and more than 5 million are estimated to be on JobKeeper
  • Mr Morrison says keeping restaurants and the like closed has a “compounding effect” on many other industries, including agriculture
  • He says once some workplace restrictions are lifted, it’s inevitable there will be a rise in cases but “what matters is how you deal with it, and how you respond to it”
  • Attorney General Christian Porter said the SafeWork Australia website has been updated with industry-specific guidelines for businesses to continue in a “COVID-safe” manner
  • Neville Power, chair of the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission, says businesses should continue to work with employees to “introduce social distancing and hygiene into your normal business activities”
  • Mr Morrison says downloads of the COVIDSafe app will pass 5 million today
  • The Prime Minister reiterated that the medical advice says schools can be fully open, and keeping schools closed is costing jobs
  • Each state and territory will continue to make its own decision about the easing of restrictions, but the National Cabinet will devise a “framework” when it meets on Friday to ensure consistency
  • Mr Morrison says a “safe-travel zone” with New Zealand is “still some time away”, but it is important to start flagging it. He says travel between the countries may hopefully begin at around the same time someone could “travel from Melbourne to Cairns”
  • The PM said he hopes interstate travel will be possible again by the “end of term school holidays”

By Daniel Colasimone

And that’s the end of the press conference. Our friend Dean Bilton has summarised everything for you if you want a snapshot…

By Daniel Colasimone

And if you want to read more about the trans-Tasman bubble:

By Daniel Colasimone

Here’s the full write on Mr Morrison’s comments about reviving the economy: 

By Daniel Colasimone

Joint statement from Prime Ministers Ardern and Morrison on the ‘trans-Tasman’ bubble

ABC News: Matt Roberts


Australia and New Zealand are committed to introducing a trans-Tasman COVID-safe travel zone as soon as it is safe to do so, Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern and Prime Minister the Hon Scott Morrison MP have announced.

The Prime Ministers agreed to commence work on a trans-Tasman COVID-safe travel zone – easing travel restrictions between Australia and New Zealand. Such an arrangement would be put in place once it is safe to do so and necessary health, transport and other protocols had been developed and met, to ensure the protection of public health.

This arrangement recognises that Australia and New Zealand are both successfully addressing the spread of COVID-19.
Any arrangement would need to take into account state and territory movement restrictions.

“Building on our success so far in responding to COVID-19, continuing to protect Australians and New Zealanders remains an absolute priority,” the Prime Ministers said. “We will remain responsive to the health situation as it develops.”

By Daniel Colasimone

Australia better positioned now if there are new outbreaks: PM


Mr Morrison says Australia is much better prepared now if there are increased outbreaks during a gradual re-opening of the country.


“Let’s remember that one of the key things we have done in the last six to eight weeks has been to triple our ICU capability.


“If we take ourselves back six-eight weeks ago … things were moving very quickly at that time. What I’d add to that, at that time there was not the same since of social distancing, not the things we have in place now, not the same stockpile of personal protective equipment, there was not the number of respirators that we now have. There was not 5 million people on a COVIDSafe app so we have built these protections over the last six weeks and more and that means that we are in a much stronger position to resist and deal with any increase in cases.”

By Daniel Colasimone

On having New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern attend the National Cabinet, and the discussion of the trans-Tasman bubble

ABC News: Matt Roberts

“It was great to have the Prime Minister with us today.


“The discussion was at my invitation, for Jacinda to be able to share what the experience has been in New Zealand with my state and territory colleagues, that was the primary purpose of today’s discussion.

“The Prime Minister and I have been now for several weeks been talking about a safe travel zone between Australia and New Zealand. It is still some time away. It is important to flag it because it is part of the road back, at some point both Australia and New Zealand. Connect with the rest of the world again, the most obvious place for that to start is between the two countries.”

By Daniel Colasimone

Mr Morrison says the COVIDSafe app will pass 5 million downloads today, with a target of 16 million


“That’s a welcome response but we would like to see a bit more.


“The first job of the COVIDSafe app is to keep you safe and that is its best reason why I would encourage people to continue to do that.”

By Daniel Colasimone

Head of the coronavirus commission Nev Power says there are four key issues in ensuring businesses are safe to reopen:



  • Reconfiguring and restructuring worksites to make working there safe
  • How to respond if there is an incident in the workplace
  • How people are communicating and how the tracking and tracing is done
  • How do we return those worksites a safe place to work as quickly as possible

By Daniel Colasimone

Attorney-General Christian Porter on reanimating businesses



  • Workplace principles have been adopted, “a very important first step ensuring there is consistency in approach as the reanimate”
  • He mentions the introduction of a COVID-19 planning toolkit which will allow businesses to prepare
  • The COVIDSafe app is a very important part of that reanimation

By Daniel Colasimone

Mr Morrison says the Government is intent on getting things moving again, but it must be done safely


“The National Cabinet are not in any way unaware of the serious implications of the decisions we have had to take now over many months, and that is why we are not seeking to delay any time at all in terms of trying to get things moving again, but we must be able to move them forward safely.


“To get Australians back to work what is essential is they could go back into a COVID-19 safe workplace, and this is something the Minister for Industrial Relations, together with the unions and others have been working on for some time. Already, businesses are acting on this. It is not just being able to go back to a workplace that is safe but also about being able to do that confidently and also about being able to go into a workplace where there are, and let’s not forget when we ease these restrictions, you will see numbers increase in some areas, you will see outbreaks occur in other places, that is to be expected. What matters is how you deal with it, and how you respond to it, and it is important that businesses, employees and employers have the tools to deal with the COVID-19 environment and ensure they are all working together to support a COVID-19-safe workplace” 

By Daniel Colasimone

Key Event

Scott Morrison on the goal of getting people back to work

He says the focus today was on the topic of getting Australia back to work.

“Hundreds of thousands of Australians have been protected in recent weeks and months. Thousands of Australian lives have been saved, when you look the experience of how COVID-19 has affected so many countries around the world, but we now need to get 1 million Australians back to work.


“To get Australians back to work, we have to get Australians back to work in a safe economy. We are trying to find what that safe economy looks like, so we can move towards that.

“The Commonwealth government is under no illusion about the ongoing costs of these measures, and it certainly puts enormous pressure, as it should, on the timetable as we seek to move Australia back to that safe economy because of those significant costs, and as we plan our way back in getting there was a million Australians back to work, those costs are expressed in so many different ways.”


Mr Morrison throws out some figures:

  • More than 1 million Australians will have had the claims process for JobSeeker
  • About 5 million are estimated to be on JobKeeper
  • 1 million or more are processing their own super, of almost $10 billion
  • 384,000 businesses are accessing around $7 billion in cash-flow assistance

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