NEWS
05/05/2020 10:16 AM AEST | Updated 06/05/2020 10:14 AM AEST

Coronavirus In Australia: Scott Morrison Wants Aussies 'Back To Work'

Plus four other things to know about COVID-19 today.

See the latest stories on the coronavirus outbreak.  

Australia has recorded about 6,825 infections and 97 deaths. There are less than 1000 active cases in the county.

More than 3.5 million cases of the virus have been confirmed worldwide, and more than 247,000 people have died from it.

Here is what is happening today: 

1. Scott Morrison Wants To Get Aussies ‘Back To Work’

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says one of the government’s big objectives off the back of the coronavirus pandemic is to now get Australians “back to work”.

“We now need to get one million Australians back to work,” the PM said at a Canberra press conference on Tuesday. “That is the curve we need to address.”

He said recent school closures has had a significant impact on the economy, and getting children back in the classroom will help many parents return to their roles or work efficiently from home. 

“When it comes to schools, the school shut down … that flows through to around 304,000 jobs,” said Morrison. 

Rohan Thomson via Getty Images
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks at a press conference following National Cabinet at Parliament House on May 05, 2020 in Canberra, Australia. 

2. Australia And New Zealand Working Towards ‘Travel Bubble’ 

Australia and New Zealand said on Tuesday efforts to resume travel between the two countries would take some time, as they cautiously re-open their mostly shuttered economies after containing outbreaks of the novel coronavirus.

The two countries have for more than a month closed their borders to all non-citizens and imposed mandatory quarantines on anyone returning home from overseas.

PM Scott Morrison said travel across the Tasman Sea between the neighbours would be the first international route re-started and would likely begin around the time domestic air travel restarts in earnest.

“When we are seeing Australians travel from Melbourne to Cairns, at about that time I would expect everything being equal we would be able to fly from Melbourne to Auckland or Christchurch,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who on Tuesday became the first world leader to join an Australian Cabinet meeting in more than 60 years, said the move would take some time to work through.

“When we feel comfortable and confident that we both won’t receive cases from Australia, but equally that we won’t export them, then that will be the time to move,” Ardern told reporters in Wellington after attending the meeting via video with Australian ministers as well as state and territory leaders.

“Neither of us want cases of COVID coming between our countries.” 

Hagen Hopkins via Getty Images
NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks to media during a press conference at Parliament on May 05, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand. 

3. Queensland Border Won’t Open Till June 

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says there’s no plans to open the state’s border till at least next month. 

“Once we see those hotspots clear of community transmission, that is when I think there will be reason to look at that,” she said

“We will review our border restrictions at the end of every month.

“June’s a good ambitious target...I can’t say whether it’s early June or late June,” she said.

Chris Hyde via Getty Images
Queensland Police set up at the Queensland and New South Wales border at Coolangatta on March 25, 2020 in Gold Coast, Australia. 

In a press conference on Tuesday morning, the premier said she will be speaking with cafes and restaurant owners as well as tourism operators. 

“As we put in place our plan for schools, we will have our plan or cafes and restaurants. We will have our plan for tourism. Our recovery roadmap for the future.”

On Monday Palaszczuk confirmed students in Kindy, Prep, Year 1, 11 and 12 would return to school on May 11, while Years 2 to 10 would continue remote learning at home. 

4. Three More Staff Test Positive In Newmarch House Cluster

Three staff have tested positive for coronavirus at western Sydney aged care facility Newmarch House. 

“Two new cases were from staff members at Newmarch House and detected as part of the screening process that has been put in place,” NSW Chief Medical Officer Kerry Chant told media on Tuesday.

Later that morning the aged care home’s operator Anglicare confirmed another case, this staffer having worked only in the facility’s coronavirus-positive ward. 

Anglicare has also asked healthcare agency Aspen Medical to stand down an employee who had been contracted to assist at Newmarch House. It comes after an over alleged breaches of infection control at the aged care facility. 

“It is our understanding that this staff member was asymptomatic … they are now self-isolating,” Anglicare said in a statement. 

Sixteen residents at Newmarch House have died. Thirty-seven residents and 26 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19, and many staff members are self-isolating for 14 days.

5. Qantas Extends Flight Cancellations 

Qantas Airways said on Tuesday it would extend flight cancellations into June and July, and added that it secured further debt funding that should support the airline through to the end of 2021 if the coronavirus crisis prolongs.

The Australian carrier secured A$550 million in further funding against three of its Boeing 787-9 aircraft and said it could raise another A$2.7 billion from other aircraft assets if needed.

“The group has sufficient liquidity to respond to a range of recovery scenarios, including one where the current trading conditions persist until at least December 2021”, the carrier said in a statement.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought global travel almost to halt and with much of the world still facing some form of movement restrictions, it remains unclear when the uncertainty will ease.

“With the possible exception of New Zealand, international travel demand could take years to return to what it was,” Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said in a statement.

Last month, the company’s smaller rival Virgin Australia Holdings entered voluntary administration after being battered by the coronavirus crisis and a high debt load.

6. COVID Safe App Exceeds 5 Million Users 

The Australian government’s COVID tracing app has exceeded 5 million downloads, PM Scott Morrison announced on Tuesday.

The PM said the app’s “most important job is to keep you safe”.

“Every single Australian that downloads it, it keeps them safe. If you have come into contact with someone who also has the app who has been infected by the Covid-19, you will know and people will get in touch with you so they can tell you you have been officially compromised by the virus.

“Then you can make decisions to make sure you protect your other family members and those in your household and roundabout you.”

With additional reporting from Reuters.