Australia's most populous state said on Tuesday that it would ease some restrictions on movement as the beaches reopened, in the hope that a policy of widespread medical testing would help keep new coronavirus cases from falling.
Bondi Beach and two neighboring beaches in Sydney were reopened to residents on Tuesday after they were closed a month ago due to large crowds that violated the rules of social distance.
Australia has only registered one new case of COVID-19 from an unknown source in the past 24 hours, suggesting that community transmission has almost been stopped, Health Minister Greg Hunt said.
"We win, but we haven't won yet," he said.
The state of New South Wales (NSW), which is home to almost half of the approximately 6,700 cases of COVID-19 in Australia, announced that as of Friday up to two adults would visit someone else's house to change the policy of the stay to loosen up at home and to ban the non-essential movement.
"For many people, they have been locked in their homes for a few weeks now, and with the exception of exercise, medical needs, or buying what they need or going to work, many people have been isolated in their homes." NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.
"Two adults will be able to visit everyone else in their home based on everyone's care, reduction in socialization, and mental health."
Children were allowed to accompany adults on home visits, added Berejiklian.
Australia, which has closed its external and internal borders, imposed premature closures of companies, and adopted strict social distance rules, has avoided the high number of coronavirus cases and deaths in other countries.
The Australian states are beginning to relax some restrictions as the local new infection rate slows to just under 1% per day, compared to 25% a month ago.
The country recorded five new coronavirus deaths on Tuesday after more residents of an elderly care facility in western Sydney died of the virus.
Anglicare Newmarch House has now had 11 coronavirus deaths, bringing the death toll to 88.
State governments have set up coronavirus testing centers and want people to be tested regardless of whether they have symptoms.
Around 2.44 million Australians, or about 10% of the population, had downloaded a state-of-the-art smartphone app "Contact Tracing" less than two days after their launch to monitor the spread of the disease.
It's not the government's goal to provide the software to about half of the population, but Health Secretary Hunt said it was a sign that people have overcome privacy concerns and "as a single Australian nation, as a single family" .
Australia is expected to plunge into its first recession in 30 years due to the economic impact of the corona virus. The government has allocated A $ 320 billion, or about 16% of GDP, to aid, the country's largest emergency package ever.
At a hearing in the Senate, Australian Treasury Secretary Stephen Kennedy said government data showed jobs in the accommodation, food, arts, and leisure sectors fell by up to a quarter in the three weeks to April 4.
Total unemployment is expected to double to over 10% in the three months to the end of June.
"Unemployment has risen to a higher level in the Great Depression, but it has done so over the course of a few years. These movements take place in just a few months," he told the hearing.
The country's second largest lender, Westpac Banking Corp, announced in a stock exchange filing that the effects of the corona virus will result in an impairment of AUD 1.6 billion. The day before, the National Australia Bank Ltd had charged a fee of AUD 807 million for the virus.
Trade minister Simon Birmingham said the government had reprimanded the Chinese ambassador to Australia after the envoy said Chinese consumers could boycott Australian products and universities if they supported calls for an international investigation into the origins of the virus.
"We will not deviate from these political positions if economic constraint or anything else threatens," Birmingham told reporters in Adelaide.
"The least that the world can expect is a transparent investigation into the causes of COVID-19 so that we understand how we can best prevent a repeat episode at any time in the future. We would hope that China, like any other country, is on the top World I would see the merits of understanding how the world can be better prepared in the future, "he added.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)