The Australian and international news stories you need to know today, Friday May 29.

States urged to switch to economic focus as Victoria remains virus hotspot.

Scott Morrison will urge state and territory leaders to take economic reform out of the ‘too-hard-basket’ when they meet today.

The Prime Minister wants the National Cabinet – which he initially convened to deal with the health impact of the coronavirus pandemic – to start shifting its focus to ways of boosting jobs, investment and economic growth.

However, the group will still receive detailed briefings from medical experts on the virus response and what could lie ahead.

The current COVID-19 figures.

Victoria is the virus hotspot, recording 10 cases including a Rydges hotel security guard, five people in one house, and three returned travellers in hotel quarantine.

A Melbourne school has been shut down, with a student diagnosed with coronavirus, just a week after a teacher from the same school returned a positive result.

A Melbourne school has been closed days after two Sydney schools closed due to COVID-19 cases. Image: Google Maps.

NSW recorded one new case on Thursday, and WA confirmed six more positive tests from members of the crew on an international livestock ship, bringing the ship's total to 12.

Health Minister Greg Hunt says Australians should expect "spikes and outbreaks" so they should keep up hygiene and distancing measures.

Of the 7150 cases, 6580 have recovered and 103 have died, with 27 people in hospital.

NSW has now confirmed religious services will also have restrictions eased as of June, with 50 people allowed to gather at places of worship and funerals as of Monday.

Ship clean up continues on NSW Coast.

The clean-up mission continues along NSW's coastline, with less than half of the 40 shipping containers which fell off the APL England on the weekend accounted for.

The cargo ship lost the containers south of Sydney during rough seas on Sunday night.


Fifteen of the 40 containers have now been accounted for, NSW Maritime says, with efforts under way to remove them from beaches along the coastline.

Container debris
Debris from the containers has washed up all along the NSW coast. Image: Instagram/Jason Bettinger.

A tug boat was deployed from Newcastle on Thursday to retrieve five containers that washed ashore at Bateau Bay on the Central Coast.

Contractors have begun to remove and dispose of five containers at Birdie Beach.

Randwick City Council in Sydney's east has reopened its beaches after they were closed for cleaning on Wednesday.

The cargo includes bar stools, food dehydrators, medical face masks, shields and goggles, furniture, range hoods, gazebos and "cat furniture".

QLD authorities being questioned after two disabled teenagers found naked in squalid home.

Serious questions are being raised about how two intellectually disabled teenagers were left to live in squalid conditions in Brisbane.

Video emerged yesterday of the 17 and 19-year-old teenagers wearing only nappies, and playing in a locked room on an air mattress, in a family home. They appeared malnourished.

Neighbours have told The Courier Mail they've pleaded with police and child safety authorities for years to intervene on the distressing situation.


The scene only came to light after police attended the property to find a 49-year-old man dead inside from an apparent heart attack.

Only days ago, the body of a four-year-old who had Down syndrome was found starved to death in a Brisbane home, her body left to decompose in her bed.

Trump finally marks 100,000 US coronavirus deaths.

US President Donald Trump sent a Twitter message yesterday to mourn 100,000 people in the United States lost to the coronavirus pandemic, a day after the threshold was reached and his silence noted.

"We have just reached a very sad milestone with the coronavirus pandemic deaths reaching 100,000. To all of the families & friends of those who have passed, I want to extend my heartfelt sympathy & love for everything that these great people stood for & represent. God be with you!" Trump said.

The expression of sympathy came after the President drew criticism in media, and on Twitter, for his failure to note the grim milestone that had dominated US news reports on Wednesday.

Former vice president Joe Biden, Trump's likely Democratic opponent in the November presidential election, released a video message on Wednesday after tallies showed the coronavirus has killed more than 100,000 people.

"There are moments in our history so grim, so heart-rending, that they're forever fixed in each of our hearts as shared grief. Today is one of those moments," Biden said. "To those hurting, I'm so sorry for your loss."


Violence erupts on the streets of Minneapolis after George Floyd's death.

Protestors have clashed with riot police firing tear gas for a second night in Minneapolis, in an outpouring of rage over the death of a black man who died while being apprehended by police.

Video from Monday night shows George Floyd lying face down in handcuffs, gasping for air and groaning for help, after being arrested for reportedly trying to pass counterfeit bills at a corner eatery.


View this post on Instagram


On Monday, May 25, George Floyd died after pleading that he couldn’t breathe, while a police officer held him down with a knee on his neck.⁠ ⁠ The incident in the US city of Minneapolis was live-streamed on Facebook by a bystander, showing white police officer Derek Chauvin arresting Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man. Floyd is handcuffed, and can be heard protesting that he could not breathe, before he becomes motionless. He later died in hospital.⁠ ⁠ The four police officers involved in Floyd's arrest have been fired but there has since been protests and public outcry demanding that the officers should be charged with murder.⁠ ⁠ Link in bio to find out more. ⁠ ⁠ #GeorgeFloyd #BlackLivesMatter⁠

A post shared by Mamamia (@mamamiaaus) on

The four officers involved in the apprehension were fired on Tuesday, but thousands of people have taken to the streets in anger.

Things are being set alight, stores are being looted, and concussion grenades are being used to keep the angry group at bay.

Protests continue following George Floyd's death
A second day of protests wreaks havoc in Minneapolis over the death of an unarmed black man. Image: Jordan Strowder/Anadolu Agency via Getty.

Britain to ease lockdown on Monday.

Up to six people will be able to meet outside, and schools will gradually reopen from Monday in the UK, despite 377 more deaths being added to the total death toll in Europe's worst affected country.

"These changes mean that friends and family can start to meet their loved ones, perhaps seeing both parents at once or grandparents at once," said Boris Johnson, adding that outdoor retailers and car showrooms would also be able to open from Monday.

Boris Johnson died
Boris Johnson has announced a lifting of restrictions in Britain from next week. Image: Getty.

"You could have meetings of families in a garden, you could even have a barbecue provided you did it in a socially distanced way, provided everybody washes their hands, provided everybody exercises common sense."


Johnson stressed that the changes were "small tentative steps forward", and health experts warned the situation remained finely balanced with new cases declining, but not very quickly.

Australia, UK, US and Canada express "deep concern" over China's new security law.

Australia has joined the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada in scolding China for imposing a new security law on Hong Kong, that they say will threaten freedom and breach a 1984 Chinese-British agreement on the autonomy of the former colony.

"Hong Kong has flourished as a bastion of freedom," the governments of the UK, US, Australia and Canada said in a joint statement, adding their "deep concern regarding Beijing's decision to impose a national security law in Hong Kong".

Riot police round up a group of protesters during the
Riot police round up a group of protesters demonstrating against a bill that would criminalise insulting the Chinese national anthem. Image: Willie Siau/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty.

China's parliament approved a decision to go forward with national security legislation for Hong Kong, that democracy activists in the city and some other countries fear could erode its freedoms and jeopardise its role as a global financial hub.

The plan, unveiled in Beijing last week, triggered the first big protests in Hong Kong for months.

Around the world.

- US President Donald Trump is seeking to "remove or change" a law that protects social media companies from liability for content posted by their users, after Twitter tagged his tweets with a 'fact check' box.

- France is reopening restaurants, bars and cafes from June 2. On Wednesday, the death toll rose by less than 100 for the seventh day in a row.

BBC reports the English Premier League will resume on June 17.

- A 13-year-old Iranian girl has been murdered in her sleep in a so called "honour killing" reportedly carried out by her dad.

- With AAP

Feature image: Getty/Instagram.

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