What you need to know about COVID-19 today, Thursday May 21.

COVID-19 border rules spark tension between the states.

Australia’s deputy chief medical officer says there’s no reason for borders to be shut, as state leaders squabble over coronavirus-related border closures.

NSW will relax travel rules within the state from June 1, with regional travel allowed for interstate visitors and residents. The Blue Mountains has already reported “bedlam” as tourists returned over the weekend, while regional places like Orange reported an influx of bookings as soon as the travel restrictions were lifted.

But Queensland is holding firm, telling its tourism industry to prepare for a likely September reopening of its state borders.

WA, SA and the NT are also maintaining hardline approaches on border closures amid fears of a second wave of infections.

Deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly says the national health advisory committee has made no decision nor offered advice on state border closures.

“From a medical point of view, I can’t see why the borders are still closed,” he said.

Just 13 new cases were recorded over the past 24 hours, giving Australia 535 active cases out of its total of 7079, which includes 100 deaths.

South Australia and the ACT have no active cases, the NT has one but has not recorded a new infection in four weeks, while Western Australia has four and Queensland has 12.

WA Premier Mark McGowan knows his tough stance is frustrating political leaders on the other side of the country.

“It might inconvenience the NSW premier and some people from the eastern states, but frankly, I don’t give a damn,” he said.

“We’re not going to give in to that sort of bullying by the NSW premier or anyone else.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the move would be an opportunity for her state as the tourism sector returns to life.


The current COVID-19 figures.

Queensland’s chief health officer Jeannette Young flagged the possibility of borders remaining shut beyond September, if infections weren’t controlled.

Professor Kelly said there would almost certainly be more cases found as the nation’s economy and society began reopening, but the system was designed to find them quickly and minimise the number of people in the chains of transmission.

South Australia will allow dining for up to 10 people in restaurants and cafes from June 5, three days earlier than planned.

The ACT will move to the second step of relaxing restrictions, allowing groups of up to 20, from May 29.

There have been almost six million downloads of the coronavirus contract tracing app, with Victorian and NSW health authorities confirming they have used the data for the first time.

Thermal technology could be rolled out across Australia.

Smart technology is being rolled out across the country to check Australian’s temperatures as restrictions ease and we begin to resume normal life.

The thermal imaging cameras are already in hospitals, but other industries like nursing homes, shopping centres, offices, hotels and airports are being considered by industry leaders.

They’re touted as an efficient, accurate and contactless way to monitor groups of people, allowing those monitoring them to stop anyone whose temperature is elevated beyond 37.5C.

9News reports supermarkets have also been looking at using thermal cameras at entrances to large stores.

WHO reports most new virus cases in one day.

The World Health Organisation has expressed concern about the rising number of new coronavirus cases in poor countries, even as many rich countries have begun emerging from lockdown.


The global health body said yesterday 106,000 new cases of infections of the coronavirus had been recorded in the past 24 hours, the most in a single day since the outbreak began.

“We still have a long way to go in this pandemic,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference.

“We are very concerned about rising cases in low and middle income countries.”

Mike Ryan, head of WHO’s emergencies programme, said: “We will soon reach the tragic milestone of 5 million cases”.

While infection rates have been falling in Asia and much of Europe, the pandemic is still spiking in Latin America.

Brazil this week became the world’s third worst-hit country with more than 250,000 confirmed cases, despite limited testing.

In Lima, the capital of Peru, coronavirus patients are filling up the city’s intensive care beds.

Russia and Brazil are now behind only the United States in the number of reported infections, and cases are also spiking in India, South Africa and Mexico.

Australia’s homeless preparing to be left on the street again.

As coronavirus restrictions begin to ease, it’s likely the 4000 rough sleepers currently housed in hotels and motels will be back on the street.

State and territory governments have paid hotels to accommodate homeless people to help them self-isolate.

Advocates say the federal government needs to pump money into social housing construction to help people keep a roof over their head.

4000 homeless Australians have been staying in hotels and motels during the coronavirus crisis. Image: Getty.

Agreements between hotels and governments end in June and July, according to a representative body for the accommodation industry.

WA and NT governments had failed to accommodate people, while Tasmania had crowded people into shelters despite the health hazards.

The last census found about 116,000 Australians were homeless in 2016, including 8200 people sleeping on the streets.

New Zealand launched COVID-19 "digital diary".

The New Zealand government has launched a COVID-19 app to help Kiwis track their movements.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has labelled it a "digital diary" which differs from the Australian version as it does not link to other users.

Instead, it allows Kiwis to check in at different venues - such as cafes and restaurants - and avoid the onerous job of writing down contact details at every place visited.

New Zealand restrictions
New Zealand has introduced their own version of a tracing app. Image: Mark Mitchell - Pool/Getty.

"It helps users, when they're out and about, keep a log of their own movements," Ms Ardern said.

"This is a way that people can do it that keeps the data for themselves rather than adding it into any more broader repository that might be held by a business."

At this stage, no data is sent to government authorities from the app, though that functionality will be added in an update next month.

Even before it was officially launched, 92,000 Kiwis - or almost two per cent of the population - downloaded it.

Around the world.

- The British government is promising a "test, track and trace" program for the coronavirus by June 1.

- US President Donald Trump has blamed China for the "mass worldwide killing caused by the coronavirus".

- French deaths are on the rise again, with 110 new fatalities in the last 24 hours.

- 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.