What you need to know about COVID-19 today, Thursday April 30.

Two Tasmanian deaths, as report points to Ruby Princess.

Two women have died from the coronavirus in northwest Tasmania in 24 hours.

Premier Peter Gutwein confirmed an 86-year-old woman succumbed to the virus this morning at Mersey Community Hospital, where she was being cared for.

It follows the death, announced earlier today, of another 86-year-old woman at the hospital.

The tragedies come as an interim report, released today, found that the Ruby Princess was the root cause of the deadly outbreak in the state’s northwest.

Twelve of the island’s 13 COVID-19 deaths have been in the northwest and two-thirds of its overall 221 cases are linked to the cluster. The only death in the south of the state was also a Ruby Princess passenger who died in the Royal Hobart Hospital.

The outbreak forced authorities to close Burnie’s North West Regional Hospital and its private counterpart on April 13 and put 1200 workers in quarantine, after several tested positive.

The report traced the virus cluster to two elderly Ruby Princess passengers who were admitted in late March and later died.

Twenty-one of the nation’s virus deaths had already been linked to the liner after passengers were allowed to disembark in Sydney in March before test results were returned.

But Premier Gutwein urged people not to blame the healthcare workers or cruise ship passengers.

“This is simply a case of people going about their lives, going about their jobs,” he said.

“This dreadful set of circumstances has ensued and has wreaked havoc and misery on so many people.”

 “We’ll stop a second wave.”

Australia’s health authorities are confident the country can fight off a potential second wave of coronavirus when restrictions are eased.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has flagged a national cabinet meeting with state and territory leaders in mid-May as crucial to lifting some social and economic clamps.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly says if outbreaks occur, Australia will have a detailed response to deal with the disease.

WATCH: Today’s coronavirus headlines. Post continues after video.

Video by Today Show

“If a second wave does occur, we’ll deal with it quickly and we’ll respond to it,” he said.

Infection rates have grown overseas after strict lockdown measures were lifted, with Germany the latest example after easing rules last week.

But Mr Morrison is adamant Australia can lift restrictions in a safe way.

“Of course, there will be outbreaks. That is what living with the virus will be like,” he said.

“That is why the protections that we put in place for a COVID-safe Australia are so important.”

scott morrison coronavirus press conference
Morrison is confident we can handle an increase in infections once restrictions are eased. Image: ABC.

Testing, contract tracing and quick, effective responses to outbreaks are considered key benchmarks in edging back towards normal life.

There are 10 million new testing kits set to flood into Australia, giving authorities scope to screen people in a targeted but more widespread way.

The COVIDSafe tracing app has been downloaded by almost three million Australians, putting it on course to achieve an effective take-up rate.

Health authorities are also confident there is capacity within intensive care units to treat outbreaks of the disease.

Professor Kelly said it was likely rules would be eased in the lead-up to May 11, a key date for reviewing bigger restrictions.

The current COVID-19 figures.

Australia's death toll sits at 90 after another fatality at Newmarch House. For the second day in a row only one new unknown case of community commission has been detected.


South Australia has gone a whole week without infections.

Government fuming at China diplomat stunt.

Billionaire Twiggy Forrest is facing criticism for inviting the Chinese consul general to a press conference with Greg Hunt without the minister's knowledge.

The relationship between the two countries is strained, with China openly criticising Australia for calling for an international inquiry into the origins of coronavirus.

Victoria and Tasmania Consul-General of China Long Zhou surprised the government when he took the podium during a press conference. Image: AAP Image/James Ross.

Mr Hunt and Mr Forrest held a joint press conference on Wednesday to announce the mining magnate's foundation had sourced 10 million COVID-19 testing kits.

But Mr Forrest also invited Victoria Consul General Long Zhou to address the media.

Mr Long took the opportunity to talk up China's response to the pandemic and told the room "we're all in this together."

Several MPs have expressed their distaste at the "ambush".

Vaccine "possible" by September.

Oxford University scientists say they're hopeful a coronavirus vaccine will be widely available by September, with human testing underway.

The experimental vaccine has reportedly worked in protecting rhesus macaque monkeys that were exposed to heavy quantities of COVID-19.

A University of Queensland coronavirus vaccine could also be ready for large-scale production by the September quarter.

Buoyed by the latest promising results in mice studies, UQ scientist Professor Trent Munro admitted to The Courier having a vaccine in production before the end of the year was “incredibly ambitious”, but that was the goal the UQ team had set itself.


Sydney nursing home running as pseudo hospital.

Another patient has died at the western Sydney nursing home riddled with coronavirus, and another two carers have fallen ill.

12 residents have now died, with a total of 34 testing positive. 22 staff members have also been confirmed as having the virus.

The 80-strong home near Penrith needs more communication and support for residents, family members say, with relatives reporting that details about their loved ones aren't being divulged.

The first resident to die from COVID-19 at the facility on April 18 has been identified as 93-year-old Raymond Jennings.

Raymond was the first resident to die at the facility in mid-April. Image: 9News.

The Anglicare-run Newmarch House says they expect more fatalities to come, confirming that the home is "running as a pseudo hospital at the moment."

NSW warned to "behave," and WA training hospitality workers.

The New South Wales Premier has reiterated that the lifting of house restrictions is "solely an extension of the definition of care" with two adults able to visit another household as of Friday.

There is no limit on how far you can travel in the state order to visit a loved one, but Gladys Berejiklian says "this is not a holiday," warning restrictions will be put back in place if people take liberties.

Gladys Berejiklian says NSW will have the two person rule revoked if they take liberties with it. Image: Getty.

The state of WA is taking steps towards reopening bars and cafes, with a new hygiene training course that'll be compulsory for the state's 70,000 hospitality workers.

Queensland is looking at how they'll move forward with "picking season," announcing workers will have to apply for a permit and have approved accommodation and confirmed work before they can enter the state.

Every year thousands of people (traditionally backpackers) descend on the state's orchards and vegetable farms, with an additional 100 staff being called in to help manage COVID-19 compliance this season.

Experts calling for testing at schools.

Infectious disease experts have urged that the adoption of the "sensible measure" of testing teachers and students at the school-gate will help protect and reassure staff.

Professor Nigel McMillan, the head of Griffith University's Infectious Diseases and Immunology program has told The Age, greater testing of children was the only way to properly determine risk in schools.

He also thinks the testing will help "fill in the gaps" in research on the effects of the virus on kids.

sending kids back to school coronavirus
Teachers have been getting different direction from federal and state governments. Image: Getty.

Victoria has announced no changes to its schooling policy, and NSW students will attend school one day a week starting from May 11. Meanwhile, Queensland will keep reviewing children at home on May 15, Western Australia hopes to have students returning May 11 and 63 per cent of kids have gone back already in South Australia.

UK death toll increased by thousands.

The United Kingdom now has Europe's second-highest official death toll from the coronavirus pandemic, according to new figures that cover fatalities in all settings including in nursing homes.

Public Health England says that 26,097 people have died after testing positive for the coronavirus as of April 28. That means the United Kingdom has had more COVID-19 deaths than France and Spain have reported.

The new method includes an additional 3,811 deaths since the start of the outbreak, so does not represent a sudden increase.

As his country deals with astronomical pressures due to the virus, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has just become a dad again.

His fiancee, Carrie Symonds, has given birth to her first child.

The countries that remain virus free.

There are still 34 countries and territories that have yet to report a single case of the novel coronavirus.

These include Comoros, Lesotho, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and tiny far-flung island nations in the Pacific such as Nauru, Kiribati and the Solomon Islands.

As of April 20, 213 countries and territories of the 247 recognised by the United Nations have seen at least one case of COVID-19.

Five countries and territories have managed to rid themselves of the virus after reporting cases. These are Anguilla, Greenland, the Caribbean islands of St. Barts and Saint Lucia, and Yemen.

- With AAP.

Feature image: AAP/9News.

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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