Australia reaches important virus milestone with community transmission nearing zero

Health Minister Greg Hunt has hailed an important milestone in the national battle against coronavirus, with just one new case of community transmission.

Australians are slowly beginning to get back to normal life after the number of community transmitted cases of COVID-19 has plummeted to almost none.

Australians are slowly beginning to get back to normal life after the number of community transmitted cases of COVID-19 has plummeted to almost none. Source: AAP

Australia has squashed coronavirus transmission from unknown sources as parts of the nation start the long road back to normal life.

In a 24-hour period, there was just one case of community transmission recorded out of the 12 diagnoses made nationally.

Minister for Health Greg Hunt has praised Australians' compliance with social distancing laws.
Source: AAP

Health Minister Greg Hunt said Australians' extraordinary efforts in adhering to social distancing measures was behind the plummeting infection rate.

The nation's death toll rose to 88 on Tuesday evening with the confirmation of four more deaths at a western Sydney nursing home.

The latest victims are among 11 residents to die at Newmarch House.

More than 5600 of the 6731 people diagnosed with coronavirus nationally have recovered.

Eleven residents have now died from COVID-19 at the Anglicare Newmarch House in Western Sydney.
Source: AAP

Australia's push for a review into the origins of coronavirus has sparked a diplomatic stoush with China, but the government is standing firm on the need for an inquiry.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says China's latest criticisms of Australia are "ludicrous".

"It's prudent and sensible for there to be an independent and transparent investigation to the origins of this global pandemic," he told Sky News on Wednesday.

"We won't bow to economic coercion, we will continue to talk up in Australia's national interest and we won't trade off health outcomes for economic outcomes."

An extra 10 million coronavirus test kits have arrived in Australia, which amounts to about a 20-fold increase in testing capability.

Banks will begin sending out free debit cards to customers who don't have them to help with online shopping.

Major supermarkets are easing purchase limits on items that were subject to panic buying including toilet paper, rice, pasta and hand sanitiser.

West Australian schools will reopen on Wednesday amid sustained federal pressure on the other states to return children to classrooms.

Many Australian schoolchildren have been learning from home for the past month.
Source: AAP

Victoria and Queensland are refusing to budge while NSW is forging ahead with plans to increase face-to-face learning from May 11.

State and federal leaders will have their next national cabinet meeting on Friday after last week committing to developing guidelines for elite sport.

Debate around when the AFL and NRL should restart their competitions is continuing but football's return will likely be guided by government principles.

Sport Minister Richard Colbeck said he was hopeful the national cabinet's sport guidelines would be ready at the end of the week.

"We want to see all levels of sport recommence as soon as possible," he told the ABC.

He said the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee-led principles would include professional, Olympic and community sport.

More than 2.4 million people have downloaded the COVIDSafe tracing app that uses Bluetooth interactions to record close contacts.

The government is encouraged the strong early take-up will result in the goal of 10 million being reached, boosting the scheme's effectiveness.

Surfers wait for officials to open Bondi Beach on Tuesday as the beach was partially reopened.
Source: AAP

NSW will from Friday allow two adults to visit another house for any reason, regardless of how many people live there.

Queenslanders will be permitted to travel up to 50 kilometres from home for picnics, visiting parks or non-essential shopping from Saturday.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others and gatherings are limited to two people unless you are with your family or household.

If you believe you may have contracted the virus, call your doctor (don’t visit) or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. If you are struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at

Published 29 April 2020 at 9:04am, updated 29 April 2020 at 9:49am