Australia

Coronavirus Australia live coverage

LIVE Last updated May 21, 2020 6:46AM AEST The war of words around Australia’s borders continues as federal health authorities admit there’s no medical reason for them to stay shut. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and West Australian Premier Mark McGowan have both faced criticism for keeping borders closed. “From a medical point of view I…

LIVE

Last updated May 21, 2020 6:46AM AEST

The war of words around Australia’s borders continues as federal health authorities admit there’s no medical reason for them to stay shut.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and West Australian Premier Mark McGowan have both faced criticism for keeping borders closed.

“From a medical point of view I can’t see why the borders are still closed,” Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Paul Kelly told reporters yesterday.

“Happy to meet (Mr McGowan) any time, it might be a while for now depending on the border closures.”

Mr McGowan earlier said lashed out at NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, accusing her of “bullying”.

“It’s odd. NSW is saying don’t catch public transport in Sydney … yet they’re saying why can’t NSW people fly to WA? The message is totally inconsistent,” Mr McGowan said.

“We’re not going to give in to that sort of bullying by the NSW premier or anyone else.”

Australia had 650 active cases as of yesterday, with 45 of them in hospital.

Australia has recorded 7079 cases of COVID-19 so far with 100 deaths. Cases include 3082 in New South Wales, 1580 in Victoria, 1058 in Queensland, 439 in South Australia, 557 in Western Australia, 226 in Tasmania, 107 in the Australian Capital Territory and 30 in the Northern Territory.

Follow our rolling coverage of today’s coronavirus updates below.

Live Updates


Natalie Wolfe

Australia’s borders are still shut despite federal health officials admitting there was no medical reason for them to stay closed.

Speaking to reporters yesterday afternoon, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Paul Kelly said he’d be happy to meet with WA Premier Mark McGowan after the state leader said he had no idea who he is.

“From a medical point of view I can’t see why the borders are still closed,” Dr Kelly said.

“Just to let Mr McGowan know, I’m a proud West Australian.

“I grew up in that state, so I hope I’ll be claimed.

“Happy to meet him any time, it might be a while for now depending on the border closures.”

Mr McGowan earlier said lashed out at NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, accusing her of “bullying”.

“It’s odd. NSW is saying don’t catch public transport in Sydney … yet they’re saying why can’t NSW people fly to WA? The message is totally inconsistent,” Mr McGowan said.

“We’re not going to give in to that sort of bullying by the NSW premier or anyone else.”

And in Queensland, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is potentially facing a legal stoush with One Nation leader Pauline Hanson.

Ms Hanson accused the premier of “scaremongering” by keeping the borders shut and is now taking the drastic action of getting a lawyer to challenge her decision.


Alle McMahon

Trade minister Simon Birmingham will today address the Rural Press Club on the impact of COVID-19 for trade relations amid a stoush with China.

Mr Birmingham will speak at the online event into the effect of coronavirus on international demand, trade relations and how agriculture can best navigate during this period.

It comes just a day after he challenged China to respond to unsourced reports it is drawing up a hit list of Australian exports.

Bloomberg reported Chinese officials were considering stricter checks on some Australian seafood, oats and fruit, and state media could encourage consumer boycotts.

“This is an unsourced claim for Chinese authorities to respond to,” Senator Birmingham told AAP on Wednesday.

“Australia notes recent comments from Chinese spokespeople emphasising the mutual benefits that flow from our trading relationship.

“We share those sentiments and will continue to work with China to uphold the commitments we both made under CHAFTA (China-Australia Free Trade Agreement).”

Australia ignited a diplomatic row with China after calling for a global coronavirus inquiry.

China hit back with an 80 per cent tariff on Australian barley and suspended imports from four major abattoirs.

– AAP

The Blue Mountains mayor is calling on the NSW government for help following a weekend of “bedlam” when people pushed over barricades and crowds had to be dispersed, as visitors returned to the tourist hotspot.

Mark Greenhill says the local city council doesn’t have the power or resources to enforce coronavirus social distancing rules so the state government needs to come up with a strategy.

NSW will relax travel rules in June, meaning people will be able to once again visit their favourite regional destinations.

Read more here.


Stephanie Bedo

Micro-breweries and small distilleries will be able to reopen in NSW.

Summer Hill MP Jo Haylen confirmed the news this afternoon, saying she had received the advice from Health Minister Brad Hazzard.

The same rules apply to the businesses as other restaurants and cafes that can have 10 patrons at a time and serve alcohol as long as it’s with food.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian is aiming to have eateries seat up to 20 people at once, within a month.


Stephanie Bedo

Pauline Hanson has accused the Queensland Premier of “scaremongering” amid the coronavirus pandemic and her decision to keep the state’s border closed.

The Senator took to Facebook to say she had engaged a lawyer to represent Queenslanders in a High Court challenge.

“It is unconstitutional for Premier Palaszczuk to close Queensland’s border and her actions are causing me a great deal of concern for the economic viability of our state,” she wrote.

“There is no cure or vaccine for the coronavirus, and until there is, all states and territories must learn to live with the virus.

“I will not let the self-interest of this lawless Premier override the constitution of our nation.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk’s scare mongering, aided by her sidekick and Queensland Health Officer, Jeannette Young must be stopped immediately.”

Ms Hanson said she had engaged a pro-bono, constitutional lawyer to represent people whose businesses had been affected during the border lockdown.

She asked her followers if the lockdown had caused a drop in domestic tourist numbers and was destroying their families, urging them to contact her office.

Ms Palaszczuk has copped criticism for saying the border could stay shut until September.

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young backed the Premier and said businesses should realistically be planning for the closure to last four more months.

“If the tourist industry wants a realistic scenario then they should be preparing for September but I say to them, that if everything went perfectly and it was possible that maybe it could happen earlier, wouldn’t they also want to be prepared for that?’’ she said.

Ms Palaszczuk said the government would review border closures at the end of each month.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.