Australia has recorded no new daily coronavirus community infections on Sunday for the first time in nearly five months, paving the way for further easing of social distancing restrictions.
Zero cases were reported in the 24 hours between 20:00 on Friday and 20:00 on Saturday – the first time this has happened since 9 June.
The state of Victoria, a coronavirus hotspot that accounts for more than 90 percent of Australia’s 907 coronavirus-related deaths, saw zero new daily infections and no deaths for the second consecutive day.
With no new cases of COVID-19 recorded in the rest of the country, Australia saw its first day of no transmissions since June 9, Health Minister Greg Hunt said.
The state of Victoria – epicentre of Australia’s second wave – recorded zero cases for the second day in a row after a 112-day lockdown.
Health officials say more restrictions may be eased in the coming days.
“Thank you to all of our amazing health & public health workers & above all else the Australian people,” Health Minister Greg Hunt said on his Twitter account.
Australia has recorded some 27,500 infections and 900 deaths to Covid-19 since the pandemic started – far fewer than many nations.
The nation of 25 million adopted an approach of using lockdowns and proactive testing and tracing to contain the virus, and Victoria – where 90% of Covid deaths occurred – imposed some of the severest stay-at-home and curfew rules in the world.
Victoria and its largest city Melbourne began to reopen earlier this week after recording no new community-transmitted cases since June. People were able to freely leave their homes, retail stores, restaurants, cafes and bars could reopen and groups of up to 10 could start gathering.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews praised the state’s six million residents for following such strict rules and said they were well placed for a “Covid-normal Christmas”.
“Thank you to all of our amazing health & public health workers & above all else the Australian people,” Hunt said on Twitter.
Queensland voters gave the incumbent Labor Party a third term on Saturday, showing support for keeping the state’s internal borders closed – which has put the local authorities at odds with the federal government.