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What you need to know about COVID-19 today, Tuesday April 28.

Social restrictions eased in New South Wales

The NSW government says that from Friday restrictions on house visits in the state will be eased, with two adults permitted to visit another household.

Newmarch House operator Anglicare said the 89-year-old female resident died on Monday night, taking the state’s death toll to 37 and national toll to 84.

“This coronavirus pandemic has been unprecedented in terms of its scale and impact across the world. But more importantly we know what a devastating effect it is having on older people,” Anglicare chief executive Grant Millard said in a statement.

COVID-19 was introduced to the Caddens facility by an aged care worker who worked for six consecutive days while suffering very mild respiratory symptoms.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Tuesday said that with new COVID-19 cases on the decline in NSW, the government could reassess restrictions at the end of each month.

The government has already announced its back-to-school plan from May 11, and will this week permit a maximum of two adults to visit another household for social or care reasons. Those with children can also bring them to the household.

Ms Berejiklian also expected an uptick in retail activity throughout May.

“We know that for many people, they’ve been cooped up in their homes for a number of weeks, and with the exception of exercising, medical needs or buying what they need to or going to work, many people have been isolated,” Ms Berejiklian told reporters.

“At the end of the day, it comes down to a level of social responsibility,” she said. “This isn’t a licence to go wild and have massive parties, but it is a licence to be socially responsible and accept that the government is easing these restrictions to supply better mental health and less social isolation for everybody.”

She admitted that health authorities expected the change to increase the number of new COVID-19 cases but said NSW hospitals were prepared.

Those aged over 70 should remain at home as much as possible.

Bondi beach, meanwhile, has reopened for swimming and surfing but the sand will remain closed given the area boasts the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Australia.

Waverley Council mayor Paula Masselos said the waters at Bondi, Bronte and Tamarama beaches would reopen on Tuesday “for the sole purpose of exercising”.

People will be able to surf or swim between 7am and 5pm on weekdays, with access to the water via designated entry and exit points.

The mayor said the “swim and go” and “surf and go” measures were strictly for Waverley residents and people shouldn’t drive to the beaches from further afield.

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All of Randwick City Council’s beaches will again reopen from Tuesday without any time restrictions while those in Dee Why, Freshwater and Manly, under the Northern Beaches Council, remain closed.

NSW recorded five new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, taking the total to 3009.

China has threatened to stop Australian imports.

China has threatened to stop importing wine and beef from Australia if the Morrison government continues to push for an inquiry into the origin of the global coronavirus outbreak.

Chinese Ambassador to Australia Cheng Jingye said the move may discourage his country’s students and tourists from travelling to Australia.

“It’s up to the people to decide. Maybe the ordinary people will say, ‘why should we drink Australian wine? Eat Australian beef?” he said.

WATCH: Quick Tuesday headlines from Today. Post continues after video.

Video by Today Show

“We reject any suggestion that economic coercion is an appropriate response,” Foreign Minister Marise Payne said yesterday.

Labor is backing the government’s calls for an independent inquiry and has dismissed concerns raised by the Chinese ambassador.

Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong says Beijing should have nothing to fear.

Penny Wong
Labor is standing by the government as China threatens exports with Australia. Image: Tracey Nearmy/Getty Images)

"The Chinese ambassador spoke about not wanting to resort to recrimination, division, and suspicion," Senator Wong told the ABC.

"That is precisely the reason why we want to make sure the international community can be assured that we get to the bottom of the origin of the virus."

China's foreign ministry has denied claims Beijing is spreading disinformation after a European Union report stated there was "significant evidence" of covert Chinese operations on social media.

Reuters earlier reported that senior Chinese officials pressured the EU to drop the criticisms from the report last week, stating that it would make Beijing "very angry."

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China continues to say there's no conclusive evidence that the virus originated in their country.

Australia to change the way we interact “permanently”.

Australia's chance at overcoming coronavirus depends on people "permanently" changing how they interact with each other, says the Chief Medical Officer.

Dr Brendan Murphy says Australians need to re-think how we interact with others and continue social distancing as restrictions around the country ease.

"Even if we release restrictions in the future, people need to change the way they interact permanently," he said.

coronavirus tracing app australia
Brendan Murphy wants to see Australia consistently get under 20 new cases a day. Image: Lukas Coch - Pool/Getty.

"If we are going to relax these distancing measures, the things we have closed, we have to change how we interact as human beings until we are through with this virus."

While Australia is in a strong position, Dr Murphy wants to see the case numbers remain low consistently before the country reopens.

"If the current trend stays as we are now, with 20 or fewer cases a day and very few of them being those community traces with that epidemiology link, that would put us in a very strong position," Dr Murphy said.

"A better position would be no cases in two weeks."

There are 1400 active cases in Australia right now, with a total of 6720 recorded. 113 are in hospital, and 43 are in intensive care. Our death toll remains at 83.

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The current COVID-19 figures.

Globally, coronavirus cases have now surpassed three million.

New Zealanders return to work.

Five weeks after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's "go hard and go early" lockdown, New Zealand is today going back to work.

Ms Ardern said about 400,000 Kiwis would return to their workplaces this morning with the lessening of the country's clampdown from level four to level three coming into place as of midnight Monday.

The shift has only a small effect on the social lives of New Zealanders, who are still being asked to stay home and to practice social distancing.

New Zealand Government Coronavirus Update As Country Moves To Alert Level 3 Lockdown Measures
Jacinda Ardern says they've "won" against coronavirus in New Zealand. Image: Mark Mitchell-Pool/Getty.

But the change is vital for business, with many industries severely sidelined over the past month.

Ms Ardern has maintained a health-first approach to fighting COVID-19, arguing a drastic short-term action would benefit the economy in the long run.

The result has produced remarkably low case numbers.

On Monday, health officials reported the country's 19th death from 1122 confirmed coronavirus cases.

"There is no widespread underlying community transmission in New Zealand. We have won that battle," said Prime Minister Ardern."It's worked and we've done it together."

Sydney school implements a “no mask, no class policy”.

An elite girl’s school in Sydney’s north has sent a message to parents calling for students to wear masks to school.

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“If there is no mask, there is no class. If there is no mask, there is no play,” Wenona School principal Dr Briony Scott wrote in a note sent home to parents last Friday.

After concerns from parents were raised, the rule was put under review, with New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian saying there was no rationale behind the policy.

“That’s not backed up by the health advice,” she said on Monday.

“If independent schools choose to do over and above what the advice is, that’s a matter for them.”

Health authorities have consistently advised that masks aren't necessary for everyone.

Two million download COVIDSafe.

The number of people to take up the government's COVIDSafe tracing app has far exceeded expectations, and Health Minister Greg Hunt is thrilled with the uptake.

Having initially expected the figure might hit one million within five days, it got the mark in five hours, he said.

The tech community is supporting the contact tracing software after analysing it with privacy concerns in mind.

Software developer Matthew Robbins says the general consensus amongst his peers is that the app is fine, telling AAP, "and it's a good public service to do so."

The government wants 40 percent of the country to have it on their phone, so they can digitise the process of identifying people you've been in contact with, should you test positive to coronavirus.

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Vaccine trial preparing to start in Perth.

An Australian clinical research company is set to trial a potential coronavirus vaccine and says it will be seeking volunteers in the next two months.

Perth-based Linear Clinical Research will trial a "ground-breaking" potential vaccine being developed to help the body produce antibodies to fight the coronavirus.

China-based biotechnology company Clover Biopharmaceuticals has developed the potential vaccine, COVID-19 S-Trimer, and securing the trial for Australia is being touted as a major coup. It's one of the first potential cures to make it to human trials.

Linear will be seeking healthy adults, including the elderly, to volunteer for the first phase of the trial. If successful, the next phase of the trial would involve thousands of people around the world, before it's hoped a vaccine could be made widely available.

Queenslanders can dob via an online form.

It will be easier to anonymously dob on anyone, even your neighbour, for breaching COVID-19 restrictions in Queensland through a new online reporting form.

Restrictions across the state will be eased on the weekend with residents permitted to travel up to 50 kilometres from home for a picnic, to visit a park, go shopping or even take a boat trip.

However, mingling in public is only allowed among members of the same household or, if you're single, you can hang out with one other person.

The new police reporting form is in addition to a new $1300 on-the-spot fine for deliberately spitting, coughing or sneezing on Queensland's frontline workers.

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Bondi Beach is open.

The once coronavirus hotspot has loosened some of its movement restrictions, reopening Bondi beach to surfers and ocean swimmers this morning after intense lobbying from the community.

Bondi and neighbouring Bronte and Tamarama will be available to swimmers and surfers between 7am-5pm, with access to the water via designated entry and exit points.

The mayor has stressed the "swim and go" and "surf and go" measures are strictly for local residents only, and were "for the sole purpose of exercise."

when is coronavirus likely to end
Bondi Beach will be reopening for surfers and ocean swimmers today. Image: James D. Morgan/Getty.

All of Sydney's east's other beaches including Coogee and Maroubra will be back open this morning, but Dee Why, Manly and Freshwater in the north remain closed.

NSW has recorded its lowest daily rise in more than seven weeks with only two confirmed cases in the last 24 hours.

There are currently 160 active COVID-19 cases in the state, with 19 people in ICU, and 15 requiring ventilators.

Boris Johnson confirms "stringent lockdown" to remain.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned that it is still too dangerous to relax a stringent lockdown wreaking havoc on Britain's economy for fear of a deadly second outbreak.

Looking healthy again after a life-threatening bout of the coronavirus, Johnson compared the disease to an invisible street criminal whom Britons were wrestling to the floor.

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"If we can show the same spirit of unity and determination as we've all shown in the past six weeks then I have absolutely no doubt that we will beat it," the 55-year-old said outside his Downing Street home, on his first day back at work.

Boris Johnson died
On his first day back in the job, Boris Johnson says Britain's lockdown will remain. Image: Getty.

"I ask you to contain your impatience because I believe we are coming now to the end of the first phase of this conflict and in spite of all the suffering we have so nearly succeeded."

With unemployment soaring, many companies crippled and a recession looming, Johnson said he understood the concerns of business and would consult with opposition parties pressing for clarity on a pathway out of lockdown.

But with Britain posting one of the world's highest death tolls - with 360 fatalities announced on Monday and a total of 21,092 hospital deaths and thousands more yet to be quantified in care homes - he stressed it was still a time of maximum risk.

Around the world.

- The World Health Organisation says Australia, South Africa, Chile and Argentina are going to need support so they have the capacity to manage both influenza and coronavirus as we head into the cooler months.

- Russia has recorded more than 87,000 cases, with 6200 new infections registered in the past 24 hours.

- Deaths in Italy have climbed by 333, with 26,997 dead. It's the highest fatality rate after the US.

- 437 deaths in the last 24 hours means more than 23,000 have now died in France. The number of people in hospital and in intensive care is on a downward trend.

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- America has more than 972,000 cases of coronavirus, yet another wave of states are poised to lift restrictions including Colorado, Mississippi, Minnesota, Montana and Tennessee.

- Hundreds have been arrested in Turkey for sharing "provocative and false" information on social media regarding the virus.

- Researchers at a Hong Kong university say they have developed an antiviral coating which could provide 90 days of significant protection against bacteria and viruses such as the one causing COVID-19.

- Germany is making 300 million euros available worldwide for humanitarian aid related to the virus.

- Haircuts, massages and shopping for garden supplies (with lines out the door) are open in Switzerland, as the country starts easing restrictions.

- 210 of 600 workers from a Peruvian copper mine have tested positive to coronavirus, with 87 percent of the positive cases asymptomatic.

- With AAP

Feature image: Getty.

To protect yourself and the community from COVID-19, remain in your home unless strictly necessary, 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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