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Home / National News / Coronavirus updates LIVE: Scott Morrison eases COVID-19 restrictions on restaurants, cafes under stage one plans to kickstart Australian economy as Australian death toll stands at 97

Coronavirus updates LIVE: Scott Morrison eases COVID-19 restrictions on restaurants, cafes under stage one plans to kickstart Australian economy as Australian death toll stands at 97

Paris has proposed that the European Commission issues bonds to finance a recovery fund for the European Union worth 1-2% of GNI per year, or some €150-300 billion ($249.4-498.8 billion), in 2021-23, according to a French proposal seen by Reuters.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.Credit:AP

The proposal comes as the EU debates how to kickstart growth after the coronavirus slump. The bloc’s executive Commission is due to make a formal proposal in the week starting May 18 of a new joint budget for all the 27 member states for 2021-27 and an accompanying recovery fund.

“The size should be at least 1 per cent to 2 oer cebt of EU GNI per year over the next three years, which would provide the EU budget a top-up of €150 billion to €300 billion each year between 2021 and 2023,” the French discussion document read.

“Loans to member states could help closing the gap, but need to remain a top-up to grants. To ensure maximum added value, such loans should have a grace period, very long maturity and low interest rate … It is also essential that this fund be set-up as soon as possible, possibly before the entry into force of the next MFF.”

Ireland’s unemployment rate rose to 28.2 per cent at the end of April including those receiving emergency coronavirus jobless benefit, the highest on record and up from just 4.8 per cent before the crisis two months ago, the state’s statistics office said on Friday.

A man pushes a pram across an almost deserted O'Connell Street in Dublin's city centre.

A man pushes a pram across an almost deserted O’Connell Street in Dublin’s city centre.Credit:PA

The new COVID-19 Adjusted Unemployment rate increased from 15.5 per cent in March after the number of people claiming the higher emergency payment more than doubled to 602,107, on top of the 216,900 on regular jobless benefits.

Excluding the emergency coronavirus payment, the unemployment rate stood at 5.4 per cent.

The adjusted unemployment rate does not include 427,400 more workers on a wage subsidy scheme for impacted companies, where the state agreed in March to pay 70 per cent of wages up to a maximum of €410 ($681) a week for an initial 12-week period.

Australian pub-goers could see their favourite watering holes stay shut despite a plan to ease coronavirus restrictions across the country.

The Australian Hotels Association says the road map to recovery is inconsistent and could force some hotels and pubs shut permanently.

“Hotels have been left blindsided,’ chief executive Stephen Ferguson said on Friday.

“They basically will not be able to re-open their businesses until stage three of the recovery process.”

Mr Ferguson said the plan failed to account for venues with large floor space and most would be forced to remain closed.

“We are told only 10 people can sit and have a meal in a pub restaurant area even if that area could safely socially distance 50 or 100,’ he said

“Why can only 10 people be allowed in a dining area of a huge venue that could safely socially distance 120?”

People are cramming into supermarkets and work side-by-side on building sites, he said.

“Where is the consistency?”

He warned that many operators were already struggling with mounting debts after being closed for more than a month and the recovery plan could force some to close their doors permanently.

“Hotels have done the right thing, put the health of staff and patrons first the moment this pandemic hit – and we will continue to do so – but common sense needs to prevail here too,” he said.

AAP

It’s Friday night – and normally you’d expect a lot fewer lights on around Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, with people flocking to the city or to local watering holes.

Instead, as self-isolation rules remain, the moon is just one of many bright lights on the skyline.

The moon rises over apartments in Coogee, where most people are still self-isolating.

The moon rises over apartments in Coogee, where most people are still self-isolating.Credit:Janie Barrett

This Maroubra residence is buzzing - with people staying home.

This Maroubra residence is buzzing – with people staying home.Credit:Janie Barrett

If you have looked up recently, you might have noticed how empty the skies are.

Nowhere is that more apparent than above busy cities like Sydney and Melbourne.

Brisbane Airport's terminals are deserted, but planes filled with freight are still taking off.

Brisbane Airport’s terminals are deserted, but planes filled with freight are still taking off.Credit:Attila Csaszar

And if you live under a flight path or near an airport, that silence is even stranger.

The once common deep roar of a jet overhead is now rare and no one knows when regular services will resume.

The animated graphics in this piece show the number of planes in the sky has changed over the course of the past couple of months as the coronavirus crisis has deepened. The difference is stark, but keep in mind the graphics are not real-time representations of air traffic and do not display every single flight in Australian skies.

Read the full story here

A Port Authority harbourmaster said he thought NSW Health’s low risk classification for the Ruby Princess meant it posed minimal risk, despite 15 passengers aboard awaiting results for COVID-19 swabs.

Cameron Butchart, who was the duty harbourmaster the night before the cruise ship docked, told the special commission inquiry that he was emailed NSW Port Authority’s policy that stipulated if there were COVID-19 tests onboard a cruise ship and results were pending, the boat was to be treated as if it was positive.

“I didn’t understand the content of the email,” he said.

The special commission inquiry into the Ruby Princess continues.

The special commission inquiry into the Ruby Princess continues. Credit:Louise Kennerley

Mr Butchart was also informed NSW Health had assessed the Ruby Princess as low-risk.

Commissioner for the inquiry Bret Walker SC asked Mr Butchart whether the low-risk assessment introduced an “unfortunate element” in his decision making.

Mr Butchart said it did.

Read the full story here

Australians are about to discover that a national framework does not end the confusion over what is allowed when social restrictions are eased.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

This is a test for the national economy and so far its leaders are falling short. Rather than agree on rules that will be applied as uniformly as possible, with as much certainty as possible, the national cabinet has only listed the options.

It is up to state and territory leaders to name the measures they will take in each step of the plan, with their own timeframes.

NSW should wait at least a fortnight before any widespread easing of coronavirus restrictions, public health experts have said as they warned that authorities need to remain vigilant to prevent an explosion of infections.

Epidemiologists and health specialists cautiously welcomed the federal government’s staged approach to easing restrictions, but said self-discipline and caution were crucial.

This is a test for the national economy and so far its leaders are falling short. Rather than agree on rules that will be applied as uniformly as possible, with as much certainty as possible, the national cabinet has only listed the options.

It is up to state and territory leaders to name the measures they will take in each step of the plan, with their own timeframes.

In other words, the framework is merely a menu. Victorians are likely to discover the meal they want is not available in their state even when it is ready to be served in Queensland.

Read the full story here

Tasmania will tread a cautious path out of coronavirus restrictions from next week, with strict border measures not expected to budge for months.

The island state on Friday unveiled its three-stage plan, which includes a staggered return to school for students across May and June.

While some jurisdictions are easing border controls, non-essential arrivals to the state will still be required to quarantine in government facilities until at least July.

“(It is) those people travelling to Tasmania that we have an eye to,” Premier Peter Gutwein said.

“We have an older and more vulnerable population. We must keep that at the forefront of our thinking.”

Tasmanians returning to their home state are subject to the same quarantine rules but from May 18 will be allowed to isolate in their own house if suitable.

The state was ahead of most in introducing hard border measures after the coronavirus pandemic hit Australian shores.

A deadly hospital outbreak in the northwest, where 12 of the island’s 13 virus deaths have occurred, likely originated from returning Ruby Princess passengers.

Funeral limits are among the first bunch of restrictions to be eased on Monday, with a cap on mourners rising from 10 to 20.

National parks and reserves will also reopen then, but residents are only allowed to travel 30km to reach them.

Limits on visits to aged care homes will be eased from Monday, a day after Mother’s Day.

Restrictions will be lifted further from May 18 when stage one of the plan is slated to begin.

Public gatherings can then increase from two to 10 people, including for real estate purposes, religious meetings and weddings.

Border restrictions are still expected to be in place when stage three of the plan begins in mid-July.

“Our pathway back will be gradual, it will be careful,” Mr Gutwein said, adding that any changes to restrictions are dependent on public health advice.

“We will continue to march to the beat of our own drum. If we find that we cannot move, then we won’t.”

Students from kindergarten to Year 6, plus Years 11 and 12, will return from May 25, with remaining grades to resume in June.

The state had recorded 225 COVID-19 cases as of Friday evening, 35 of those remain active while 177 people have recovered.

AAP

Australians are about to discover that a national framework does not end the confusion over what is allowed when social restrictions are eased.

Scott Morrison has outlined a three-step plan to relax the curbs but he is outnumbered in national cabinet and cannot decide the changes.

This is a test for the national economy and so far its leaders are falling short. Rather than agree on rules that will be applied as uniformly as possible, with as much certainty as possible, the national cabinet has only listed the options.

It is up to state and territory leaders to name the measures they will take in each step of the plan, with their own timeframes.

Read the full story here

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