At least 5,700 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Australia and 40 people have died.
The virus has killed more than 69,000 people worldwide and more than 1.2 million are infected.
Here is what is happening in Australia today:
1. Gold Coast Beaches Closed
Gold Coast has announced three popular beaches will be closed effective midnight Tuesday, after thousands of people flocked to the locations over the weekend. These are The Spit, Surfers Paradise and Coolangatta.
“Unfortunately, over the weekend, out-of-towners are descending on the Gold Coast in mass numbers and I fear that this number will increase over the Easter weekend,” Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate told media on Monday.
“I didn’t want to do this but [what happened] over the weekend shows me especially people visiting from Brisbane are not listening to us.”
He said beaches would remain “for our locals so they can walk and continue to exercise”, though didn’t specify how this would be enforced.
Australia’s most famous beach Bondi has been closed for the past two weeks, with police fining people who trespass.
2. Criminal Investigation Into Ruby Princess Cruise
On Monday morning the Ruby Princess cruise ship docked at Port Kembla, south of Sydney to help remove crew who need urgent medical treatment and to refuel the ship to send it away.
It comes after police confirmed a criminal investigation would be launched after nearly a third of Australia’s coronavirus-related deaths have been attributed to the Carnival Corp cruise.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said the remaining 1,040 crew from 50 different countries on board are to stay in isolation for 10 days. There are 200 crew on board showing symptoms of Covid-19. More details here.
3. The Queen Delivers Message To Australia
In addition to the recorded message that has been viewed around the world, Queen Elizabeth II had a special message for Australia amid the pandemic.
“At a time when people across the Commonwealth are experiencing a profound and rapid change to their lives, the pain of lost loved ones, and an understandable concern about the future, my thoughts are with all Australians,” she said, in the message shared by the Governor General, David Hurley.
“Whilst it can be difficult to remain hopeful in such challenging times, especially following the summer’s devastating bushfires and recent flooding, I am confident that the stoic and resilient nature of the Australian people will rise to the challenge.”
4. Western Australia’s Border Control Comes Into Effect
Premier Mark McGowan confirmed on Monday that the WA border closure is in place, and warned Australians from Eastern states to stay away.
“We don’t want people from the east coming here. I want that to get through the heads of the people in the eastern states,” he told media at a press conference.
“Don’t come. We don’t want you. Stay away. Don’t drive across because if you are not exempt, you are going to be turned around and drive back and it is a three or four days drive back to Sydney.”
5. Victoria Broadening Covid-19 Testing
The state has expanded the criteria upon which Victorians can get tested for Covid-19 in order to “get a clearer picture of the extent of community transmission”.
Speaking to the media, Victoria’s Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said, “As a result of the declining number of returned travellers, we are now broadening our testing criteria to get a clearer picture of the extent of community transmission”.
She explained that anyone with a fever or acute respiratory symptoms, and is 65 years or older or is part of an occupational group that has close contact with the public – including childcare workers, school teachers, firefighters and emergency medical responders – are eligible for Covid-19 testing as a priority group.
“This is regardless of whether those individuals have a history of overseas travel,” said Mikakos.
6. New Zealand Sticking To Restrictions
New Zealand will stick to its tough curbs to combat the coronavirus, despite some early signs the spread of the illness has been stabilising, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday.
The country’s 67 new infections were the lowest in five days, taking its tally to just over 1,100. New Zealand has reported one death.
“Our actions for the remainder of the period in level four will be about doubling down to ensure the gains made in the first half are not squandered in the second,” Ardern told reporters in Wellington.
Level-four curbs allow people to take walks or go to supermarkets for essentials, but they are required to stay two metres apart.
“I don’t want New Zealand to be at level four for a minute longer than needed, but equally there is no plan to move from level four early,” Ardern added.
New Zealand started a four-week total lockdown of its population of about 5 million late in March, and declared a national emergency to slow the spread of the virus.
People have been told to stay home with all non-essential services, schools and offices shut for a month, amid warnings that offenders face large fines and even jail.
With additional reporting by Reuters.