Australia

The ACT declares itself free of active coronavirus cases but social distancing to stay

The ACT has become the first Australian jurisdiction to eliminate all known cases of coronavirus. Source: AAP

The last few people in the ACT with the coronavirus have now recovered, making the territory the first jurisdiction in the country to be free of the disease.

The ACT has become the first jurisdiction in Australia to declare itself free of coronavirus.

Despite the milestone, health officials have said social distancing restrictions are here to stay.

A total of 106 people have had the coronavirus in the ACT, three of whom died.

The other 103 have now recovered, the territory's chief health officer Kerryn Coleman says.

"Today marks the first time in seven weeks our territory has no active cases of COVID-19 and this is because of the strong work the community is doing to stop this virus," she said on Thursday.

"However, it is important to stress that we should still protect the good work we have done. Please continue to follow ACT Health directives and practise good hygiene as we continue to help fight this virus together."

ACT chief minister Andrew Barr is yet to outline plans to follow other states, including surrounding NSW, in easing restrictions.

Meanwhile, the Northern Territory has become the first jurisdiction in Australia to outline a specific plan for easing coronavirus restrictions. 

NT chief minister Michael Gunner has announced pubs and restaurants will reopen on 15 May, while public swimming pools, fishing with friends and golf will restart on Friday.

The restrictions on nightclubs and team sports are scheduled to be lifted on 5 June.

The eased rules could provide a blueprint for other jurisdictions due to make critical decisions about restarting economic and social activity in the coming weeks.

The last new case of coronavirus in the NT was recorded on 19 April.

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 sbs.com.au/coronavirus.

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