Good evening, here are the latest developments on the coronavirus pandemic in Australia. This is Calla Wahlquist and it is Thursday 14 May.

600,000 jobs lost

Australia’s unemployment rate jumped a full percentage point to 6.2% in one month and underemployment increased by 4.9 points to 13.7%, the Australian Bureau of Statistics has reported. It’s the highest unemployment rate since September 2015. The federal treasury is forecasting that unemployment will peak at 10%.

Some 600,000 jobs have been lost since the coronavirus shutdown provisions began in March. About 1.6 million Australians are now on jobseeker or youth allowance and six million are on jobkeeper.

Experimental Covid-19 drug not available to other patients

There are no plans to make millions of doses of hydroxychloroquine imported by former federal politician Clive Palmer available to those who rely on the medicine to treat severe autoimmune conditions.

Palmer was granted permission to import the drug and its precursors for use in clinical trials on whether hydroxychloroquine can be used to treat and prevent Covid-19. However despite its unproven effectiveness in treating Covid-19, Australia’s low number of Covid-19 cases, and a two-week waiting list at pharmacists for people who need the drug to treat autoimmune conditions, the Therapeutic Goods Administration said the drugs were imported under a specific exemption in the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 and “cannot be lawfully released for general use”.

Queensland considers a $200m bid for Virgin Australia

The Queensland government is canvassing the possibility of partnering with other bidders for Virgin Australia, one month after the struggling airline went into administration. The state government is understood to be offering $200m to join a consortium that would guarantee Virgin’s headquarters remained in Brisbane.

Preliminary bids are due to be lodged on Friday, and administrator Vaughan Strawbridge is expecting the field of interested buyers to narrow from 19 to eight.

The Queensland-based home affairs minister, Peter Dutton, said making a bid for Virgin was a “massive mistake” and that Queensland’s new treasurer, Cameron Dick, was a “crazy person”.

Schools go back in Western Australia

School will be compulsory in Western Australia from Monday for all except students with medical vulnerabilities or family members with chronic health issues. The requirement that students return to on-site learning applies to public, independent and Catholic schools. Schools have been open to students for several weeks, but previously parents had the option of their children learning from home. WA recorded one new case of Covid-19 overnight and currently only has seven active cases.

Questions over whether Covidsafe data is safe from US law enforcement

US law enforcement agencies will not be able to access data collected on the Covidsafe app and stored by US-based Amazon Web Services, defence minister Marise Payne has said. Legislation protecting the privacy and security of users of the Covidsafe app passed parliament this week, and Payne said the act makes “any transfer of data to any country outside Australia … a criminal offence under the provisions of the bill”.

However legal experts are concerned that could change if parliament passes separate legislation that would make it possible for Australia to facilitate data-sharing arrangements with law enforcement agencies in other countries.

Payne also confirmed on Wednesday that the app downloads will have no impact on the decision of national cabinet or state governments to ease coronavirus restrictions.

Restrictions ease in NSW from Friday, pubs open in the Northern Territory

New South Wales reported four new cases of Covid-19 on Thursday, ahead of restrictions being eased on Friday.

From Friday, people will be able to welcome up to five visitors in their home and gather in groups of 10 outdoors. Restaurants and cafes will also be open to 10 customers. People in the Northern Territory will be able to go to the pub.

Victoria reported nine new cases of Covid-19, including three at Cedar Meats, bringing the size of that cluster to 90. Cedar Meats is restarting its cold storage facility on Monday but not reopening its killing or boning floors, the company told Guardian Australia.

Four of the new cases in Victoria are employees at McDonalds in Fawkner, which was closed on Friday after two other employees tested positive.

Nationally, the federal health minister Greg Hunt extended the Covid-19 human biosecurity emergency period to 17 September. Federal parliament will resume on 10 June for two weeks, before returning as scheduled in August.

Bondi Beach to reopen

Beaches in eastern Sydney will reopen from Friday, including Bondi, Bronte, Clovelly and Coogee. Waverley Council, which covers Bondi, said the number of people permitted on the beach would be restricted to 500 at a time, and the council would enforce social distancing. If the crowds get too big and people do not remain 1.5m apart, beaches may be closed again. Ocean pools will also reopen, restricted to 10 swimmers.

What you need to know: get the most important information from some of our key explainers


Calla Wahlquist

The GuardianTramp

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