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Coronavirus Australia news: more freedom as Covid-19 restrictions ease in NSW and Victoria – live updates

Matilda Boseley here to take you through the morning.

The big thing to look out for today is that Australians will experience more freedom as much of the country enters a new phase of Covid-19 restrictions.

The more flexible restrictions – which differ across the states – will mean more movement in public places, including pubs, cafes and restaurants. But authorities continue to urge the public to practise safe hygiene and social distancing measures.

From midday, Queenslanders will be able to travel statewide, while pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes will be allowed to seat up to 20 people. The state’s strict border closure will remain in place.

NSW pubs, beauty salons and museums reopen, and holiday travel inside state boundaries will also be permitted.

In Victoria, libraries, galleries, museums, places of worship and beauty clinics are among the venues that will be allowed to reopen with no more than 20 people.

In South Australia, venues can have up to 80 patrons provided they are contained to groups of 20 in separate rooms or areas.

Australia’s deputy chief medical officer Nick Coatsworth says the lifting of restrictions is a balancing act between the socioeconomic benefit from their removal and the public health risk.

“We’re taking a deliberately safe and cautious approach,” Coatsworth told reporters in Canberra on Sunday.

“Most importantly we’re taking the time to gather the data over the coming weeks to determine whether it’s safe to move to the next round of lifting restrictions.”

Almost 7,200 Australians have tested positive to Covid-19 with over 1.45 million tests conducted.

Some 478 virus cases remain active across the country, while the death toll sits at 103.

More than 62% of Australia’s Covid-19 cases have been acquired overseas since 22 January.

A three-year-old child is one of three new cases in Western Australia, but all were in quarantine after returning from overseas, while one of the cases from the Al Kuwait livestock ship has been hospitalised.

The ship has accounted for 20 of WA’s 28 active cases.

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