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What you need to know about COVID-19 today, Tuesday May 19.

WHO backs Australia’s call for independent virus inquiry.

Australia’s push for an independent inquiry into the coronavirus pandemic has been vindicated globally with widespread backing of the probe, including from China.

More than 110 countries at the World Health Assembly on Monday night backed a resolution calling for an impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation of the international response to the pandemic.

Health Minister Greg Hunt says the probe needs to protect against the health risks of wildlife wet markets and include all populations or partners.

“We need to learn the lessons from this pandemic and ensure we have the strongest possible global health architecture, with an enhanced ability to prevent and respond to future outbreaks,” he told the assembly.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus promised a review would come “at the earliest appropriate moment”.

US President Donald Trump supported the probe by retweeting an AAP Newswire/SBS story on the motion.

Chinese President Xi Jinping also backed a WHO-led review and said his country had acted with “openness and transparency and responsibility” all along.

But his comments came as China’s commerce ministry announced all Australian barley imports would be slapped with tariffs totalling 80.5 per cent from Tuesday.

Trade with the country makes up half of all of our barley exports, and the tariffs come a week after China imposed a ban on meat imports from four Aussie processing plants.

Australian deaths rise to 99.

Australia’s COVID-19 death toll stands at 99, after a NSW man in his 60s with underlying health conditions, died after contracting the disease from a close personal contact.

Debate is also continuing over when to reopen state borders after NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian hit out at her Queensland counterpart Annastacia Palaszczuk, who admitted their joint border may not reopen until September.

Ms Berejiklian said the sooner people could travel to other parts of Australia, the quicker the economy would recover.

The current COVID-19 figures.

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West Australian Premier Mark McGowan and South Australian Premier Steven Marshall backed Queensland, saying their borders will remain closed until it’s safe to reopen.

However, Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham urged the states to lift their borders.

Despite only nine cases being reported nationally on Monday, concerns about the spread of the virus continue.

McDonald’s closed 12 outlets across Melbourne after a delivery driver tested positive to the disease.

A Domino’s outlet has been shut for cleaning after a worker contracted the virus, while the Victorian abattoir linked to 99 cases is beginning to reopen.

Childcare centres want four weeks’ notice of return to normal.

Childcare operators want at least four weeks’ notice to help parents transition back to the pre-coronavirus system of fees and taxpayer subsidies.

A government review of the first month of its emergency free care arrangements, released today, has found almost all of the nation’s 13,400 childcare services are still operating.

The survey found that before the funding package kicked in, attendance more than halved for three in 10 centres.

childcare
Childcare centres want for weeks warning before the government subsidies are reversed. Image: Getty.

A further five in 10 had attendance fall between 20 and 50 per cent.

The problems were even more pronounced for after school hours care, where more than three-quarters of services had at least half their children pull out.

Under the special arrangements, the government is guaranteeing childcare operators their taxpayer funding as it stood in late February - about half their usual revenue - plus the JobKeeper wage subsidy to those eligible.

But they can't charge parents the usual gap fee. The review found about three-quarters of centres said this was keeping them financially viable.

Many centres worried about meeting the increased demand for places and having more children attend as the economy starts reopening and want a month's notice before the system reverts.

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Queensland COVID-19 nurse under investigation.

A Queensland aged care facility remains in lockdown after a nurse working at the home tested positive to coronavirus.

Two investigations into the incident at the North Rockhampton Nursing Centre have been launched.

The nurse tested positive to COVID-19 on Thursday, after she had worked while having symptoms of the deadly virus and awaiting her test results.

All patients and staff, except for one who is on leave, have tested negative to the virus.

Some residents have been temporarily relocated to nearby hospitals, so those potentially exposed can self-isolate in their own rooms.

Queensland has recorded 1057 total cases of COVID-19, however, just 13 remain active.

Around the world.

- A week after a third of French schoolchildren returned to classrooms, there has been a flare up of about 70 COVID-19 cases linked to schools.

- Donald Trump says he has been taking a malaria drug for the last week and a half, as preventative medicine against coronavirus. There have been medical warnings about its use in this way.

- The Philippines has reported seven new coronavirus deaths, and 205 more infections, bringing its total to close to 13,000.

- The EU says an initial authorisation for US pharmaceutical company Gilead's remdesivir - as a COVID-19 treatment - might be granted within days.

- With AAP

Feature image: Getty.

To protect yourself and the community from COVID-19, keep at least 1.5 metres away from other people, regularly wash your hands and avoid touching your face.

If you are sick and believe you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your GP ahead of time to book an appointment. Or call the national Coronavirus Health Information Line for advice on 1800 020 080. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

To keep up to date with the latest information, please visit the Department of Health website.

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