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Coronavirus Australia live updates: states face pressure to lift restrictions after weekend BLM protests – latest news










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Good morning and welcome to our continuing live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic in Australia.

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee will meet today to discuss “stage three and beyond” of lifting the lockdown restrictions.

The deputy chief medical officer, Paul Kelly, said the AHPPC would take into account the potential spread of the virus at the large protests on the weekend. About 30,000 people gathered in both Melbourne and Brisbane and an estimated crowd of 20,000 gathered in Sydney in solidarity with US protests over Black Lives Matter and the death of George Floyd, and to protest the number of Indigenous deaths in custody in Australia. Hundreds more gathered in smaller cities and towns.

Kelly told AAP:


At the moment, it won’t change how we are viewing those processes, but in particular states it may do, depending what happens in relation to [any] cases that crop up.

The protests have seen business owners place increased pressure on state governments to open up lockdown restrictions, according to a report in the Australian. Former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett told the Oz:


Don’t tell me after thousands of people attended the rally, we couldn’t have had thousands of people at the footy on the weekend social distancing.

We need to open up the borders. We need to start moving.

Protesters at all rallies were told to wear face masks and remain 1.5m apart whenever possible. Face masks and hand sanitiser were distributed at entry points to the major rallies in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. The order to wear masks was almost universally obeyed.

Victoria’ deputy chief health officer, Annaliese van Diemen, told reporters yesterday that she was “hopeful” Victoria’s case numbers continue to trend downwards. She said:


If we have no outbreaks in general in [the next] two weeks, and we continue to trend downwards, we will see that as a positive in terms of low levels of community transmission.

Stage three restrictions could see gatherings of up to 100 people permitted, employees returning to their workplaces, and interstate travel.

Some states are going slightly off book: in Western Australia gatherings of up to 100 people have been permitted since midnight on Saturday, and the premier, Mark McGowan, has maintained his insistence that the hard border between WA and the rest of the country will not lift.

As of last night, there have been 7,260 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Australia and sadly 102 people have died.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering: today is Monday.

Updated

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