news

What you need to know about COVID-19 today, Sunday May 17.

Victoria will allow pubs and cafes to re-open in June.

Victorians will be able to eat and drink inside restaurants, cafes and pubs again from the start of June, under an easing of coronavirus restrictions announced by Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday.

Such venues will be able to host up to 20 people in an enclosed space from June 1. That number will increase to 50 from June 22, and to 100 during the second half of July.

coronavirus australia update May 17
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews announces an easing of restrictions. Image: Getty.

Venues that have been open in recent weeks have only been able to serve takeaway.

The development comes after another 50,000 tests were conducted in the past week, with the state government given confidence by the low rates of community transmission.

But the premier stressed social distancing measures - which are being hashed out with industry - will have to be followed.

"It is a long and extensive set of rules," Andrews told reporters on Sunday.

Victoria recorded another seven COVID-19 cases on Sunday, bringing the state's total so far to 1561.

Queensland aged care residents evacuated after nurse tests positive.

An investigation has been launched after a sick nurse returned to work at a Queensland aged care home while waiting for her coronavirus test results.

The North Rockhampton Nursing Centre was locked down on Friday amid fears 115 residents and 180 workers at the state-run facility could be infected.

Initial testing of 193 people has come back negative for the virus, however, health minister Steven Miles says it is possible more people could be infected.

Chief health officer Jeannette Young said officials were also investigating the circumstances of the nurse's testing.

This will include why the woman, who worked in the reception area of the facility, returned to work while waiting for her test results.

Miles said it was unacceptable that the nurse had gone to work while having symptoms of the COVID-19 disease.

ADVERTISEMENT

"We are taking the risks here very very seriously," he told reporters on Saturday.

About 35 low-risk residents have been moved from the home so that residents in the wing where the nurse worked can be spread out to further reduce the risk of infection.

Health officials are now tracing the woman's movements to track down and test people she came into contact with after becoming infected.

"We do not know exactly who has come within 1.5 metres of the nurse so anyone in Rockhampton with any symptoms needs to be immediately tested," chief health officer Jeannette Young said.

Health authorities share concern over second wave.

coronavirus australia update May 17
Customers of Piato restaurant in the suburb of North Sydney sit outside having lunch on May 15, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. Image: Getty.

Health authorities are warning Australians to approach their new-found freedoms with care, for fear of sparking a second wave of COVID-19.

States and territories have begun lifting restrictions on outdoor and indoor gatherings and business operations, following weeks of measures to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd on Saturday said people cannot afford to be complacent.

"The pandemic is not over. The risk to vulnerable people remains significant," he told reporters in Canberra.

Australian Medical Association president Tony Bartone said there was still a risk the virus could flare up as hot spots or small outbreaks.

The number of cases in Australia stood at 7036 on Saturday after 20 new cases were reported over 24 hours.

The death toll from the pandemic is at 98.

Listen: The risk and reality of a COVID19 second wave in Australia. Post continues below audio. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Obama criticises virus response in speech.

coronavirus australia update May 17
Former U.S. President Barack Obama. Image: Getty.

Former US President Barack Obama has criticised some officials overseeing the coronavirus response, telling college graduates in an online address that the pandemic shows many officials "aren't even pretending to be in charge".

Obama spoke on Show Me Your Walk, HBCU Edition, a two-hour livestreaming event for historically black colleges and universities broadcast on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. His remarks were surprisingly political and touched on current events beyond the virus and its social and economic impacts.

"More than anything, this pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what they're doing," he said. "A lot them aren't even pretending to be in charge."

Obama did not name President Donald Trump or any other federal or state officials.

Update on Australia's COVID-19 numbers.

As of Sunday morning, Australia has 674 active cases after recording a total of 7,036 cases to date.

The national death toll is now, 98 - this includes 45 in NSW, 18 in Victoria, 13 in Tasmania, nine in WA, six in Queensland, four in SA, and three in the ACT.

In Australia, over one million people have been tested out of a population of 25.7 million.

- With AAP. 

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.

Read more on COVID-19:

Feature image: Getty.


Sign up for the "Mamamia Daily" newsletter. Get across the stories women are talking about today.


00:00 / ???