Australia's COVID-19 epicenter reports no deaths from virus for first time in 2 months


Australia on Tuesday recorded its first day without a COVID-19 death in two months, as states began to lift restrictions amid growing confidence that a second wave of infections has been contained.

While officials said there were 50 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, a small increase from a day earlier, Australia reported no fresh fatalities for the first time since July 13.

Most of the new cases were in Victoria, Australia's second most populous state, which has accounted for about 75% of the country's COVID-19 infections.

Still, with infections falling in regional areas of Victoria, Premier Daniel Andrews announced social distancing restrictions in those areas would be eased late on Wednesday.

Outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people will be permitted, residents of a household will now be allowed to visit one other home, and cafes will be able to seat up to 50 people outside.

"We have driven case numbers down to very low numbers in regional Victoria. That's taken some time. We stayed the course and now we can open up," Andrews told reporters in Melbourne. "That should be something that I think inspires confidence and a real sense of hope that the same thing can be achieved to the best of our ability across metropolitan Melbourne."

The dwindling case numbers in Victoria comes nearly seven weeks after about 5 million people were ordered to abide by a stringent lockdown after COVID-19 cases peaked at more than 700 in one day.

Melbourne, Australia's second largest city, is on an extended hard lockdown until Sept 28, though authorities have also begun easing curbs there. From Monday, residents were allowed to leave their homes for longer periods for exercise and authorities shortened a nightly curfew.

Queensland state reported one new case on Tuesday, a returned traveller from overseas and in quarantine, while New South Wales, Australia's most populous state, recorded seven new cases.

South Australia, one of the remaining states and territories to effectively eliminate the virus, said it will restore travel links with the Australian Capital Territory surrounding Canberra.

Australia has reported just over 26,700 coronavirus cases and 816 deaths.

With the numbers of COVID-19 cases falling, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison has turned to reviving an ailing national economy, unveiling a series of policies to lower the price of gas to fuel a manufacturing recovery.

"We continue to do better than almost every other developed country in the world when it comes to protecting lives and livelihoods," Morrison said in a speech in Newcastle, 161 km north of Sydney. "If we are shut, we are not living alongside the virus, the virus is actually keeping us from living."

© Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

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The result will buoy optimism that a stringent lockdown of nearly 5 million people for nearly seven weeks has curtailed the spread of COVID-19.

Who writes this stuff?  The article says there were 42 cases (a small increase from previous day), so clearly the spread is still going on.

The no deaths is great news and precisely the reason why focusing cases as opposed to bad outcomes is so ridiculous.  If no one died from the (say) 700 cases in August then clearly treatment is getting better or the reported cases were in less vulnerable people.

The haphazard way this has been dealt with and reported is in large measure the cause of the mass hysteria that has attended this whole episode.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

At what cost?

Before praising Australian government please read below:

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Yup. It's almost as if we limit the chance of spreading the virus we limit the spread of the virus.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

@AG: How about 200,000 not dead people that America / Trump can't say

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Well done Melbourne. Keep up the great work.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Totally agree @gogogo, however it is taking extreme measures that should not be taken this way, ruining people’s lives unnecessarily.

It is important/crucial to protect (all) its citizens and residents. After all that is the primary responsibility of any government.

Just open its borders to its citizens and residents - as Japan did - with precautionary measures such as PCR test upon arrival and compulsory self quarantine.

I am confident if Australia followed the same example the numbers would be as low as they are now.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Just open its borders to its citizens and residents - as Japan did

Australia is open to citizens and partners, residents and other visa holders. Some are unable to get in due to hardly any flights in (and those that are, are extortionately pricey. )

Where are you getting this misinformation that Australian borders are not open to residents?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

AG: I think you misread, they were never shut for locals, nothing stopping citizens or residents returning to Australia (if you can find a flight).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Finally some slow cautious talk of easing restrictions. No matter how prudent, proactive and effective this hard shut down may have been ( and we’ll never know what the landscape would’ve looked like without it), it seems that two months at home is the limit for outdoors, bbq loving Aussies.

People were seriously starting to go stir crazy, and the frustrations were bubbling. Lots of anger and angst. Memes such as the Victorian PM, who made the difficult call in a difficult time, in a nazi uniform started to pop up. No matter what has to be done for the greater good, it seems people have their limit.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Number of Deaths from lockdown suicides please.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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