Accessibility links

Breaking News

Australia Starts to Wind Back COVID-19 Restrictions


Medical staff perform a test for COVID-19 on a driver at a drive-through testing site in Melbourne, Australia, on May 1, 2020.

Strict physical distancing restrictions are starting to be wound back across parts of Australia as the number of coronavirus cases continues to fall.

COVID-19 restrictions vary across Australia. The most significant relaxation of the measures is in the Northern Territory. That territory has not recorded any new coronavirus cases for over three weeks. Residents will no longer be subject to the 10-person limit for outdoor activities. Fishing and camping are now permitted, and there is no limit on guests at weddings or mourners at funerals. Playgrounds will also be open for the first time in weeks.

The rules have also been relaxed in the state of Queensland. Residents there will be allowed to travel up to 50 kilometers from their homes for picnics, boating and motorbike riding with members of their household or just one other person. Shopping for nonessential items such as clothes and shoes will also be allowed, but physical distancing guidelines remain in place.

“This weekend is also really crucial, so I really hope that everyone acts responsibly, that they enjoy some of the lifting of the stay-at-home restrictions, that they can get out and see their family and friends, they can go for a picnic, go for a walk in a national park,” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said. “If you are doing those recreational activities, it has to be roughly within 50 kilometers of your home. But this is going to be a great opportunity for Queenslanders to really get out and enjoy the fresh air.”

New South Wales, the country's most populous state, has suffered more COVID-19 cases than any other Australian jurisdiction.

Restrictions imposed to limit the spread of the disease are being slightly eased. The new rules introduced Friday allow people to visit friends in their homes.

Most coronavirus regulations in Victoria are expected to remain in place until its state of emergency is lifted on May 11. Residents in Tasmania have also been told to wait for any easing of disease-prevention measures on the southern island state.

The Australian Capital Territory -- the region that includes the national capital, Canberra -- has become the first jurisdiction in the country to be declared free of all known cases of the virus.

The federal government says a decision on relaxing national COVID-19 restrictions, including children’s sports and recreational sports, will be made May 8.

Ninety-three people have died in Australia from COVID-19. There are currently 6,752 known cases.

XS
SM
MD
LG