The national coronavirus cabinet has agreed to a six-month moratorium on evictions and to limit gatherings to a maximum of two people. Speaking after a Sunday night meeting with state leaders, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said “states and territories will be moving to put a moratorium on evictions of persons as a result of financial distress” for private renters, with a similar announcement expected today ($) for commercial tenancies. The two-person limit for public gatherings does not apply to households, education, employment, funerals or weddings. Public playgrounds, outdoor gyms and skate parks will all be closed. Australians are advised to remain at home unless for work, exercise, medical care, or essential shopping. People aged 70 or over are advised to stay at home wherever possible, as well as over-60s with chronic illness, and indigenous people over the age of 50. Morrison said they can still go outside but should avoid contact with people other than their support person.
All foreign investment in Australia will now require approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board, as the federal government seeks to prevent international takeovers of local companies struggling through the coronavirus pandemic. The change comes as the federal government prepares to unveil the details of its third economic rescue package. Wage subsidies to keep employees tied to their employers are under consideration.
From today, Australians will be able to access bulk-billed telehealth consultations with health professionals, as part of a $1.1 billion government funding boost. The news comes as Australian scientists announced they had developed a free diagnostic tool that trained doctors to spot COVID-19 in CT scans of patients’ lungs. University of Sydney professor Patrick Brennan, chief executive of the company behind the solution, told The Sydney Morning Herald current testing only showed whether patients had COVID-19, whereas the new tool revealed the severity of the infection, information that had the potential to save thousands of lives. Australia recorded another two COVID-19 deaths to bring the country’s total to 16, with a total of 3966 confirmed cases.
The global death toll from COVID-19 exceeded 33,000 on Sunday, with Spain suffering its worst day yet, recording 838 deaths in a 24-hour period and bringing the total number in the country to 6528. Italy’s death toll rose to 10,779, with a further 756 victims on Sunday. Speaking at his weekly blessing, Pope Francis threw his support behind a call by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for an “immediate global ceasefire” so the world can focus on fighting the coronavirus pandemic.