That’s where we will leave the live blog for Easter Sunday.

This is what happened in all news coronavirus-related today:

  • The federal government has talked down extending the jobkeeper payment beyond its current capacity, although treasurer Josh Frydenberg confirmed it would cost an extra $18bn (beyond the current $130bn) to include more casuals and others who have missed out on the payment.
  • Eleven new confirmed cases of coronavirus around the country bringing the total to 6,314, and three more deaths up to 59.
  • A man in hotel quarantine in Melbourne died, his death is not being treated as suspicious.
  • Tasmania will close down two hospitals in north-west Tasmania and clean them out after a number of infections were identified as being connected with the hospitals.
  • A further shutdown of most retail outlets aside from those absolutely necessary will be in place in the region for the next two weeks.
  • Some 112 passengers from the Antarctic cruise ship the Greg Mortimer touched down in Melbourne and, after medical checks, are headed for quarantine. About 16 New Zealanders went straight onto a smaller plane to return home.
  • Victoria extended its state of emergency for four more weeks, to 11 May.
  • Education minister Dan Tehan said costs for short courses in universities and tertiary settings would be cut, and he guaranteed no funding cuts for universities.

We will be back again tomorrow for all the latest coronavirus coverage. Until then, stay safe.


The deputy CMO Michael Kidd has been on ABC News Radio.

He believes Australia isn’t currently missing that many cases that aren’t being tested for.

"We don't believe we're missing a lot of cases with the testing we have underway" says DCMO @MichaelKidd5."Testing is increased in situations where people may be affected by Coronavirus,"

— ABC NewsRadio (@ABC_NewsRadio) April 12, 2020

And a message for people who have had Covid-19.

"Even though people may have had the virus, those people will still need to be doing the same ...physical distancing, hand hygiene, etc." says Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd.

— ABC NewsRadio (@ABC_NewsRadio) April 12, 2020

He says national cabinet is clearly thinking about what is next, and Australia can’t stay cut off from the rest of the world forever.

He says there has to be a way to live a normal life with the virus still in parts of the world.

He says herd immunity is not something the government is considering because it would bring with it an unacceptable level of loss of life.

“In the end we will have to find a pathway forward where we normalise things,” he says but adds that he hopes treatment options are developed.

Finance minister Mathias Cormann is on Sky News with host Sharri Markson.

He repeats the mantra that restrictions will not be eased until the medical advice says so.

The advice at the moment is the restrictions have to remain as they are.

It’s working, he says, with new cases at around 1%.

It comes with great cost, and great inconvenience he says, but it will save lives.

A police officer asks people to move while patrolling during the Easter Long Weekend at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia, 12 April 2020.
A police officer asks people to move while patrolling during the Easter Long Weekend at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia, 12 April 2020. Photograph: Joel Carrett/EPA

No new cases in South Australia.

South Australian COVID-19 update 12/4/20.

For more information go to or contact the South Australian COVID-19 Information Line on 1800 253 787.

— SA Health (@SAHealth) April 12, 2020

There is an increase in the number of these sorts of incidents in the past few months during the coronavirus pandemic.

Shocking footage has emerged from a Big W store where shoppers had to be physically separated after a stoush over two tins of baby formula.

— (@newscomauHQ) April 12, 2020

It’s not clear the full context of this, but incidents like this one seem to be around every day.

The Australian Human Rights Commission says around one quarter of the racial discrimination complaints it has received in the past two months are related to people being targeted because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Labor is calling for an anti-racism campaign to combat this kind of behaviour, similar to the “Racism – it stops with me” campaign undertaken by the then-Labor government in 2012.


Patients currently in the North-West regional hospital will be transferred to the community hospital, and only transferred out of the north-west region if absolutely necessary.

There are no patients at the hospital currently in the ICU.

Recently discharged patients will also be required to self-isolate.

The hospital will be in contact individually with expecting mothers who were due to give birth in the hospital, to explain what their plan is for those women.

Tasmania to close and clean hotspot hospitals, shut down retail in north-west

Tasmanian premier Peter Gutwein has announced that North-West regional hospital and North-West private hospital in Burnie will be shut for a deep clean, and the staff will be required to isolate for 14 days.

The government is doing this because of the 133 confirmed coronavirus cases in the state, 61 are linked to the north-west coast, 49 are linked to an outbreak in the hospitals and 35 are healthcare workers.

The close contacts of those affected will also need to self-isolate.

There will also be new restrictions in Latrobe, Kentish, Devonport, the Central Coast, Bernie, Waratah, Circular Head, and the West Coast.

In addition to the rules around only leaving the home for an essential purpose, all retail stores in the north west will be required to close unless they can do online or home delivery.

There is an exception for medical services, pharmacies, supermarkets, petrol stations, bakeries, laundromats, dry cleaners, newsagents, bottle shops, IT repair and car repair, vet services, pet food stores, and banks.

Kmart and Harvey Norman will be closed, Gutwein said, and Bunnings will only be allowed to sell to trade workers.

“This will be a difficult period, I would ask you to work with us,” Gutwein said.

“With the aim of this is to get to the end of a two-week period where we can bring those health services back online and importantly we can lift the restrictions as well. We need to do this, we need to do it now, we need to get on top of it, and I make no apologies for that, the swiftness of the action that we are taking.”


McGowan says he took his kids camping ... in his backyard ... over Easter because obviously other locations were unavailable.

And that’s the end of the press conference.


“We’ve successfully flattened the curve, but now we’ve got to figure out how to keep it there but also find out a long-term solution to the problem we face,” McGowan says.

He says he is working on getting commercial tenancy legislation in parliament this week. He’s not sure whether residential tenancy legislation will be ready this week but it will be brought in when it is.

The former will be brought into WA parliament for debate on Wednesday.


McGowan says he is working with Qantas, and the state government may need to underwrite flights between WA and the eastern states in order to get WA residents back home, or people in WA back east.

McGowan on the low numbers, says the war isn’t won yet, but planning needs to begin on how to recover.

He says Western Australia will be very cautious, but they’re looking all the time at tweaking the restrictions within WA on whether restaurants and cafes and other places can open or close. He says rules will be determined based on medical advice.

He says people have been good with the social distancing, he suggests a lot of the photos of people at beaches are misleading, being shot up the beach to make it look like people are closer than they actually are.


McGowan says the restrictions in the state will be reviewed on a monthly basis but not so much the hard border closure with the rest of the country.

He says of the seven cruise ships near WA, five have passed Fremantle, so he is hopeful they will leave the WA coast soon.

WA reports three new cases

WA premier Mark McGowan announces three new confirmed cases in WA in the metropolitan area. All of the people are from WA, but two were on cruise ships and they are trying to contact trace the third.

It brings the total number of cases in the state to 517, including 68 from cruise ships.

He says 278 are still suffering from the illness, and 38 are in hospital.


Tourism minister Simon Birmingham has told Nine Newspapers Australians should be thinking they’ll first be allowed to holiday within their own state first, and then interstate, and overseas last as the restrictions eventually ease up.

There’s still no timeline on any of this, but it makes sense that the easing of any restrictions would be localised where they can identify and contain cases of community transmission. Slightly harder to do between states, and even more difficult to do with people travelling in and out of the country.

Nine Newspapers is reporting that we could have been a year closer to a vaccine for coronavirus, had an Australian research lab not had its funding cut a few years ago by a US government agency:

“If these vaccine trials had gone ahead – and they looked good – we would have felt in much better shape now,” said Prof Peter Doherty, an immunologist and Nobel laureate.


The NT government is advising people if they’re entering the NT by sea, they’ll need to isolate for 14 days.

They must go directly to Darwin Harbour if arriving from overseas, or Nhulunbuy Port or Darwin Harbour if arriving from interstate.

Unlike other jurisdictions in Australia, although the NT government will select where they’re quarantined, those who enter the territory will have to pay for their accommodation.

Anyone who breaches quarantine will be fined $1,099.


A man gives thumbs up as he leaves quarantine in Melbourne.
A man reacts on Sunday as he leaves the Crown Promenade Hotel after spending two weeks in forced quarantine in Melbourne. Health authorities will stagger the release throughout the day of the international arrivals who have completed their mandatory isolation period. Photograph: Scott Barbour/AAP


The NSW Poisons Information Centre has reported an increase in calls about poisoning after people (generally children) have ingested hand sanitiser.

The centre is advising parents to keep hand sanitiser out of reach of children, and to be careful with home-made sanitiser, which can be more poisonous.

Minor ingestions can be managed at home, but the centre says calling in first is important.

Has the coronavirus pandemic made us rethink how much Australia produces?

Via AAP:

The impact of the coronavirus crisis has exposed gaps in the Australian economy where it has become too reliant on overseas supplies, which could see manufacturing face a revamp coming out of the pandemic.

Warren Hogan, industry professor at the UTS business school and a former chief economist at ANZ said a standout feature throughout the crisis has been the reliance on overseas sources for medical supplies and equipment, and pharmaceuticals.

He told Sky News on Sunday the crisis has shown Australia needs to be more self-sufficient.

“Whether the borders are shut or not, international supply chains are disrupted, we can make sure we can get the key things Australians needs,” he said.

In an interview last month, Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox predicted that after this crisis there will be a significant push towards doing more back in Australia.

“I think self-reliance will become more of a mantra,” he said.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said there will be a proper assessment of global supply chains and what they mean for Australia in the coming months.

“One area where Australia is self-sufficient is in agriculture, which produces enough food for 75 million people in a country of just 25 million,” he said.

He said Australia also plays in the “niche manufacturing space” and that has been quite handy in the crisis.

For example, ResMed, a medical device manufacturer, has increased the number of ventilators it producers.

But in contrast, Australia has had to import more than 30 million masks to try and cope with the pandemic.

“So we have to look at all these supply chains,” Frydenberg told ABC television.

“This is where Treasury and other relevant departments like Industry will be doing more work over the months ahead.”

But he said this should not be seen as an argument for protectionism.

“Australia is a great beneficiary of free trade. We need to play to our comparative strengths,” he said.


The Queensland government has announced $17m to fund 465 community kindergartens to stay open through term 2 and support around 22,000 children with free kindergarten.

This is on top of the $90m normally provided by the state government every year.

In addition to paying the wages of the 2,754 teachers and educators at the kindergarten, the government will also waive regulation fees.


Andrew Giles, the shadow minister for cities and multicultural affairs, has penned an interesting piece arguing that the Covid-19 shutdowns could be a chance to reboot the national conversation on loneliness because we’re all stuck inside at the same time.

First, his statement of the problem:

“The Australian Loneliness Report, released by the Australian Psychological Society and Swinburne University, found one in two Australians feel lonely for at least one day a week, while more than one in four feel lonely for three or more days per week.

The report found that loneliness increases a person’s likelihood of experiencing depression by 15.2%.

We know that loneliness hurts people, and it can kill them.”

Giles writes about the fact schools, workplaces, universities, sport, book clubs, nightclubs and aged care facilities are either shut down, operating remotely or under new restrictions limiting physical closeness to others.

And how might it change the conversation? He concludes:

Through this we have to think about loneliness, which has been defined by reference to social isolation.

That’s a subjective feeling of disconnection, but presently it’s our objective reality, to greater or lesser extents. It’s something we are all experiencing, at the same time.

I’m hopeful that this might prove helpful, in that we are all thinking about the quality of our connections and how much these matter to who we are, and how we are.

It’s a chance to get rid of the stigma that prevents people talking about their loneliness, and for all of us to treat this with the seriousness it deserves.

Before Covid-19 reshaped how we live our lives, Australia was already facing a loneliness crisis, something that was recognised by many experts and Labor’s national platform.

Now, many weeks into this period of physical isolation, it is urgent that we turn our minds to responding to this public policy imperative. That we work on the ways that communities can stay together, and build connections that work for all their members, on their terms, not ours.”


Good afternoon everyone.

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd has joined the International Monetary Fund in a Covid-19-related role.

Via AAP:

The former Australian prime minister has joined an International Monetary Fund external advisory group to tackle issues including the coronavirus and its global economic impact.

“Even before the spread of Covid-19 and the dramatic health, economic, and financial disruptions it has brought, IMF members confronted a rapidly evolving world and complex policy issues,” IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva said.

“To serve our membership well in this context, we need top-notch input and expertise from the widest range of sources, inside and outside the Fund.

“Toward this end, I am proud that an exceptional and diverse group of eminent individuals with high-level policy, market, and private sector experience has agreed to serve on my external advisory group.”

The group’s other members include former United Nations deputy secretary-general Lord Mark Malloch Brown, former Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Monetary Authority of Singapore chairman Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Kristin Forbes and Guggenheim Investments chief investment officer Scott Minerd.

Rudd has held numerous international roles since resigning from Australian parliament in 2013, including senior fellow at Harvard University’s John F Kennedy School of Government, the Center for Strategic and International Studies and president of the Asia Society Policy Institute.


Thanks all. I’m going to hand over to my colleague Josh Taylor now.

We’ve sadly heard of three deaths today, taking the number of people who have died from Covid-19 in Australia to 59.

Please let your remaining Easter Sunday be physically distanced and safe.


The discombobulating feeling of isolation in our places which are already isolated. Covid view from my place.

— Gabrielle Chan (@gabriellechan) April 12, 2020

The Labor treasury spokesman, Jim Chalmers, has responded to Josh Frydenberg’s warning that his discretion to expand eligibility for the $130bn jobkeeper wage subsidy program is only for “unforeseen circumstances”.

Chalmers told reporters in Brisbane:

This weekend, Josh Frydenberg had an opportunity to include more workers in the jobkeeper scheme but unfortunately he didn’t grasp it. He had the opportunity to do the right thing by more than a million Australian casuals and by temporary workers as well who can’t get home, and unfortunately, he didn’t grab that opportunity. He alone has the power now to decide who has access to the jobkeeper payment and who is excluded from it. The only thing standing in the way of a jobkeeper payment for more than a million workers is the treasurer’s signature.

This morning on the Insiders program, the treasurer said that he has the power to change the rules for unforeseen circumstances but that’s not true. He has power to change the rules overall to determine who has access to the jobkeeper payments. These are not unforeseen circumstances. These workers are not being excluded by accident; these workers are being deliberately excluded from the jobkeeper payment.

Josh Frydenberg’s position will see even more Australians join the jobless queues in the coming months when so many of those job losses could have been avoided. When we see a spike in unemployment in the next couple of months, remember that Josh Frydenberg had the opportunity to prevent some of those job losses by exercising his powers on behalf of casual and temporary workers and that he didn’t exercise those powers. It’s not too late for him to change his mind and for the government to change course.


What's happened so far on Covid-19 Easter Sunday

Let’s run through where we’re at on Easter Sunday.

  • Australia has 6,289 confirmed cases and 59 people have died from the virus, 16 of which were passengers on the Ruby Princess cruise ship.
  • The country’s 57th death, another passenger from that cruise ship, was confirmed this morning in South Australia.
  • The 58th death was confirmed from Tasmania this morning. A woman in her 70s died.
  • The nation’s 59th death was announced in NSW – an 82-year-old man died overnight at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.
  • Some 112 passengers from the Antarctic cruise ship the Greg Mortimer touched down in Melbourne and, after medical checks, are headed for quarantine. About 16 New Zealanders went straight onto a smaller plane to return home.
  • Treasurer Josh Frydenberg warned it was “very dangerous and unrealistic” to loosen restrictions on movement ahead of medical advice.
  • Victoria extended its state of emergency for four more weeks, to 11 May.
  • A drop in testing over the Easter weekend may have influenced the number of new cases being reported today – Victoria reported 3, Qld 12, ACT zero, NSW 7.
  • Education minister Dan Tehan said costs for short courses in universities and tertiary settings would be cut, and he guaranteed no funding cuts for universities.


NSW death tolls reaches 24

AAP reports that an 82-year-old man died at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in NSW overnight, brining the total number of deaths from Covid-19 to 24.

NSW Health acting director Dr Christine Selvey said the man was in contact with a confirmed Covid-19 case and was not linked to the Ruby Princess cruise ship.

There have been no new cases of Covid-19 reported in the ACT, which has 102 confirmed cases – one less than yesterday after further tests on one previously confirmed case.

There are three people in Canberra hospitals and 67 people have recovered and been released from self-isolation. The state has previously confirmed two deaths from the disease.

In a statement, acting ACT chief health officer Dr Vanessa Johnston thanked Canberrans for their efforts in helping flatten the curve. She said:

Our actions are creating meaningful impact and Canberrans should be proud of their continued efforts to limit the spread of Covid-19. We must stay on track and not fall in the trap of becoming complacent.

Please remain vigilant and stay home for the remainder of this Easter long weekend. Do not travel to the coast or interstate or gather in large groups with family and friends.

If you do need to go out for essential reasons, then complying with the rules on physical distancing and practicing good hand and respiratory hygiene are the most important tools in slowing the spread of Covid-19.


My colleague Anne Davies also has some information on some changes announced by the NSW government to the way people can get their prescriptions.

To prevent older people from having to leave their homes, doctors will be able to prescribe medicines in NSW via email or fax from April 17.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said under the NSW government changes announced today GPs and nurse practitioners will be able to send a digital image of the prescription. Hazzard said:

These changes are designed to make accessing your medications easier and safer, particularly for those in the community with chronic conditions.

It ensures people with compromised immune systems will not need to go to the doctor’s surgery in person and can get their script entirely through a telehealth appointment.

Scripts will only be able to be sent by email or fax rather than via text to a pharmacy, to stop potential prescription forgery and diversion to the criminal supply chain.


NSW health minister Brad Hazzard and health authorities in the state have been updating us on the number of cases – and there’s been some adjustments to their numbers around the fringes, due to people moving back and forth between states.

The state now has 2,854 confirmed cases – including seven added from yesterday – and Hazzard pointed out that 1,206 of those were people under 40.

But health officers said this small rise could be down to a drop in the numbers of tests being carried out over the Easter weekend.

On Saturday, there were only 840 tests carried out, when usually that daily number has been between 3,000 and 4,000.

Hazzard also raised concerns about people’s mental health and encouraged residents to go out an exercise and “build up vitamin D” but they needed to make sure they were still keeping a safe distance from others. He wanted people to look out for each other.

I want to acknowledge that at Easter perhaps it is the right time to be talking about this. We all need to be looking after each other. I have concerns about people’s mental health in this particular crisis.


As the deadline approaches on Monday for people getting the jobseeker payment to get the additional $750 economic support payment, Services Australia says it is working to ensure everyone is able to get their claim in.

Over 200,000 jobseeker claims have been processed so far. For those still waiting for a call back from Services Australia, or are worried they missed a call, Services Australia say they can call the dedicated jobseeker line (132 850) on Monday from 9am to 5pm to check their claim.

Services Australia general manager Hank Jongen said in a statement: “If customers miss a call from us or the line disconnects, we encourage them to call us on this line. We are working with our telephony provider to address cases where this has occurred.”

Services Australia has put on 6,200 more staff for call centres to process claims, and has taken more than 1m calls so far.

People who haven’t registered their intent to claim by tomorrow will miss out on the $750 payment, but Jongen said if someone can’t complete their claim, Services Australia will work with them to ensure they are paid as soon as possible.

The increased jobseeker coronavirus supplement will be paid to all people on jobseeker from April 27.


Education minister Dan Tehan was promoting an alternative binge earlier this morning, saying there would be a cut in the costs of diplomas and short courses.

So “rather than bingeing on Netflix” people could “binge on studying” instead, Tehan said.

There wasn’t too much detail, but in a release to media Tehan and skills minister Senator Michaelia Cash said the cost to study short courses including “nursing, teaching, health, IT and science” would be cut.

The courses would start at the beginning of May and will initially run for six months.

Tehan told reporters:

Areas where we need people, and we are going to need people as we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic. So we also want our universities to seize this opportunity, and it is an opportunity for them to become world leaders in short courses, world leaders in what is called micro-credentialling.

And if our people can seize this opportunity, if our universities can seize this opportunity, we will be able to ensure that education remains one of the foundations which will build this nation into the future. What we are announcing today also is that when it comes to our universities we are going to put a ballast into their finances.

Tehan also said the government would guarantee funding for universities at current levels. There’s already been some reaction to that.

My colleague Paul Karp says Universities Australia chair, Deborah Terry, has welcomed the “first step” but warned even with the guarantee, there will be a tough road ahead. She said:

We estimate a quarter of all jobs at Australian universities will go within the next six months – that’s more than 21,000 livelihoods. Without guaranteed CGS and HELP funding that figure would have been even higher.

Individual universities are already cutting costs across the board through very substantial reductions in operational spending, deferral of vital capital works, and reductions in senior staff salaries.

However, this will be nowhere near enough to cover what we conservatively estimate as a revenue decline of between $3bn and $4.6bn.


My colleague Paul Karp has a full story now on the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s interview on the ABC this morning.


Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the state now has 98 confirmed cases of Covid-19, an increase of 12 since Saturday.

The total had been revised down from yesterday, she said. There are 12 people in intensive care in the state.

Palaszczuk had a “big thank you” to Queenslanders who were “absolutely doing the right thing” this Easter weekend.

Coronavirus Update: Queensland Premier @AnnastaciaMP with the latest coronavirus update. #coronavirus #7NEWS

— 7NEWS Brisbane (@7NewsBrisbane) April 12, 2020

Sunday, 12 April – coronavirus cases in Queensland:

• 12 new confirmed cases
• 983 total confirmed cases
• 72,313 tests conducted

Sadly, five Queenslanders have died from coronavirus.#coronavirusaustralia

— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) April 12, 2020


Tasmanian woman in her 70s becomes state's fifth Covid-19 death

Tasmania’s premier Peter Gutwein has confirmed a fifth death from Covid-19 in the state – a woman in her 70s.

That puts the national death toll at 58.

AAP reports that the woman died in the North West Regional Hospital. Gutwein confirmed this on Sunday and offered condolences.

“It’s again a stark reminder that this virus is deadly, it’s taken lives and as I said it will take more yet,” he said.

Gutwein also said there had been 11 new cases of the coronavirus from the state’s northwest.

The state has a total of 133 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 11 new cases in north-west Tasmania, where health authorities are working to contain an outbreak of the virus.

Thirty-eight of the state’s 133 confirmed cases have been linked to the North West Regional Hospital and North West Private Hospital in Burnie, with 26 staff among them.

Gutwein hasn’t ruled out tougher measures to limit the spread of the virus in the north-west, including a lockdown of the region.


Australia’s chief medical officer Brendan Murphy is up now in Canberra with a positive update, some thank yous and some congratulations.

Australia now has 6,289 confirmed cases of Covid-19, he said.

We’ll try and find some clarification on that number because it is less than the 6292 that the government reported as of 3pm on Saturday.

Some 80 people are in intensive care with 36 people on ventilators, Murphy said. There have been 57 deaths.

Firstly, to the positive update.

We have had a continual reduction in the number of new cases each day. There is no place in the world I would rather be than Australia at the moment. Having said that, as my colleagues have been saying for the past few days, we cannot become complacent. We still have some community transmission, small numbers of cases which do mean that there are people in the community that are transmitting this virus ...

We are in a good place, as I have said a few days ago, but we have to maintain that good place.

Now the thank yous, directed first at Australians.

I would like to say a few things. I would like to thank the Australian people for embracing and living within these new, very restrictive measures that we have had to put in place, and they have come to the fore, as all Australians do. They have shown that they can change the way they behave, and I think as I have said on other occasions, we will start to see a whole different way we interact, even when this is over, in terms of hand hygiene and distancing.

Murphy also had some words of thanks for frontline healthcare workers “but especially today, I want to recognise unsung heroes, and they are our public health workforce”.

There are 7000 or so people working in each of the public health units in the states and territories, doing case detection, contact tracing, isolation and making sure that our transmission is contained. The single biggest reason why we have not had a terrible outbreak of community transmission is that we in Australia have got on top of those cases, two-thirds of whom have still been our citizens returning back from overseas, and these public health workers, in each of the state and territory health departments, who have done that.


Here are some images of the flight from Uruguay carrying Australian and New Zealand passengers from the stricken Antarctica cruise ship the Greg Mortimer.

The charter flight from Uruguay comes into land this morning in Melbourne.
The charter flight from Uruguay comes into land in Melbourne on Sunday morning. Photograph: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images
Paramedics and staff in hazmat suits wait on the tarmac at Tullamarine airport in Melbourne.
Paramedics and staff in hazmat suits wait on the tarmac at Tullamarine airport in Melbourne. Photograph: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images
Passengers from aboard the Antarctica Cruise ship The Greg Mortimer disembark the flight that landed in Melbourne this morning.
Passengers from the Greg Mortimer disembark the flight that landed in Melbourne this morning. Photograph: James Ross/AP


A little bit more from Victorian premier Daniel Andrews, who also gave us some numbers from the state’s police service.

Victorian police have done 19,303 checks so far, and have issued about 900 fines including 92 in the past 24 hours.


Victoria extends state of emergency by four more weeks

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews is providing an update on Covid-19 with the news there have been only three more cases overnight, and no further deaths.

But Andrews announced the state of emergency would be extended for a further four weeks to 11 May.

Andrews said Victoria now had 1,268 confirmed cases, with 28 people currently in hospital with 16 in intensive care. There have been 14 deaths.

The low number of new cases was “very strong piece of evidence that our strategy is working” he said, but the restrictions would stay in place, citing the nightmare of New York’s recent daily death tolls of more than 1,200. He said:

These things can change very quickly, and I would caution against any complacency or any sense that we will be able to change our policy settings, and wind back some of the restrictions we have put in place, any time soon. This needs to be for the long haul.


Antarctic cruise passengers on Covid-19 stricken ship land in Melbourne

We’re starting to hear about some of those travellers arriving in from overseas destinations on flights in to Melbourne.

News agency AAP reports that about 112 passengers from the Greg Mortimer cruise ship that had been moored off Montevideo in Uruguay landed at Tullamarine just before 7am.

Previous reports suggest 16 of the 112 are New Zealanders. One small group was seen in masks leaving the plane and walking across the tarmac to a smaller plane.

The ship had left Argentina, which neighbours Uruguay, on 15 March for a 16-day return trip to Antarctica. It had been stuck in South America for more than two weeks.

The ship’s operator Aurora Expeditions confirmed this week 128 of 217 people had tested positive for the coronavirus.

A flight carrying 112 Australian and New Zealand cruise ship passengers has landed in Melbourne, with dozens believed to have COVID-19. #9News

Read more:

— Nine News Australia (@9NewsAUS) April 11, 2020

Uruguay’s foreign minister Ernesto Talvi said two Australian passengers could not be transported home as they were in intensive care at a hospital.


Frydenberg says restrictions will only be lifted when medical advice says it's safe

The treasurer has closed up his interview with ABC Insider’s host David Speers with a message of caution on lifting restrictions.

It will only happen if the medical advice says it’s safe.

He said that “so far our medical experts and those on the front line are the real heroes of the crisis”.

A few weeks ago, he said the number of cases per day was rising by 20%, but now the rise was at just 2%.

Well, I think the Australian people are prepared for restrictions for as long as it takes, to be honest, because we have got to take the medical advice. It served us well. We have flattened that curve.

We have to consolidate the gains. If you look at Japan, if you look at Singapore, they both thought they had great success. Now they have seen a second wave of cases.

If you look at Sweden, they allowed large gatherings. They have now got the military setting up hospitals in the middle of Stockholm and they have had 650 deaths from coronavirus – they have half the population of us and more than 10 times the death.

We have to take the medical advice. It is very dangerous – and unrealistic – to move ahead of the medical advice. It has served Australia well.

Finally, the treasurer was asked if he was happy that “we can do six months of this”. Frydenberg responded:

Again, I am talking to business leaders. And they fully understand that the restrictions are based on the health advice and the health advice needs to be followed.

Again, I don’t have a crystal ball. The prime minister prepared the nation for six months at least. We are having a degree of success in flattening out that curve. But it is dangerous to move ahead of the medical advice. And that is where we will go.


Victorian man dies while in quarantine accommodation

Victoria’s health department has announced a man died on Saturday while he was in quarantine accommodation.

A Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson said in a statement:

Police are not treating the death as suspicious at this time.

The coroner will be investigating the incident and as such we are unable to comment further.

Our thoughts are with the family of the deceased at this time.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says 802,000 businesses have applied for the jobkeeper payments as of Sunday morning.

No doubt that represents millions of Australian workers ... We don’t have the hard and fast numbers. They could be sole traders, not-for-profits, big and small businesses. They are likely to be a combination of all the above.

The treasurer also says more than 600,000 Australians have “indicated their interest” in accessing some of their superannuation.

He thinks that ultimately, because that program was announced before the jobkeeper program, less people will take the opportunity to dip into the superannuation than the government initially thought.


The treasurer Josh Frydenberg is speaking to David Speers on the ABC’s Insider’s program and he’s being asked about the options he might have to extend the jobseeker payment.

Frydenberg admits he does have discretion to make changes to the program, but that right now “we have no planes to change the rules”. He says:

Well, there is a power to amend the rules due to unforeseen circumstances. The reason why this power was created is because the size of the program, David, $130n – it is unprecedented in scale and scope. But also because the parliament is not sitting on its normal schedule. We have no plans to change the rules. We want to implement the program as passed through the parliament with the support of the Labor party and we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that Wednesday was an historic day for the federal parliament. At $130bn we have a wage subsidy in place that will support some 6 million Australian workers, at 70% of the median wage.


If you’re thinking about getting out and about on this Easter Sunday, there are a range of restrictions on our movement. Essentially, if you don’t absolutely have to go out, then don’t.

We have a summary of all the restrictions.

South Australian former Ruby Princess passenger dies

News agency AAP is reporting the death of a 74-year-old man from Covid-19 who was a passenger on the Ruby Princess cruise ship.

The 74-year-old man succumbed to the infection in the Royal Adelaide hospital overnight, SA Health confirmed on Sunday.

It is the state’s fourth coronavirus death, with the national toll now standing at 57.

“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the man,” SA Health said.

More than a dozen Ruby Princess passengers have died from the virus, and more than 500 people have been infected, either onboard or from contact with people who were.


The deputy prime minister, Michael McCormack, has spoken to Sky News, leaving a very small amount of wiggle room to expand the $130bn jobkeeper wage subsidy and discussing the need for “reform” (possibly even GST reform!) on the other side of the Covid-19 crisis.

On jobkeeper, McCormack said it was “broad enough ... to get as many people through to the other side as we can”, playing down expectations it could be expanded beyond six million workers because Australia doesn’t want “to saddle ourselves with debt”.

But the Nationals leader said the government will “continue to look at the situation, take advice from business and key stakeholders, and people on the ground”.

He also noted that the tax office has a discretion to waive the requirements of a 50% reduction in revenue for businesses earning more than $1bn a year or 30% for those below that threshold. McCormack suggested this could occur where a business “may have lost, say 45% [of revenue], or a drought stricken business that is unlikely to lose another 30% [compared to the previous year]”.

Asked about tax reform in general, and GST reform in particular, McCormack replied:

“The recovery out the other side is going to need that [tax reform] ... I think the expenditure review committee and the states will be having a large say in that. But we need to come out the other side strong. We’ve put in place $320bn of measures to make sure we can cushion our economy as best we can.”

McCormack praised the economic credentials of Liberal-National governments, claiming they know how to “manage money”.

He then flicked the switch back to bipartisanship by saying reform will “need the help of Labor states and territories, through the [Council of Australian Governments] process and the national cabinet being its best self”.

Asked about the possibility of a loan to Virgin, McCormack said Australia needs two airlines but has already given $1bn support package to the industry.


Her Majesty The Queen released a special Easter Sunday message a few hours ago.

In an effort for inclusiveness, the Queen spoke about the traditional lighting of candles during religious ceremonies, and how candles seemed to “speak to every culture and appeal to people of all faiths, and of none”.

Easter will be different for many of us but, by keeping apart, we keep others safe. But Easter isn’t cancelled – indeed we need Easter as much as ever.


Good morning to this Easter Sunday and our live coronavirus coverage for today. I’m Graham Readfearn and I’ll take you through the next few hours.

So what’s coming up, apart from all the chocolate (and it’s milk chocolate for me)?

We’re expecting about 1,200 Australians to be arriving back into the country from today landing at Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport and heading into quarantine. We’ll bring you news of those arrivals a bit later.

If you want to catch up with yesterday’s developments – including the latest number of cases, and the folk in Sydney that still want to walk from Bondi to Bronte (and now can’t because they’ve shut the path due to the crowds) – you should have a quick read of my colleague Calla Wahlquist’s wrap-up from late yesterday.



Josh Taylor (now) Graham Readfearn (earlier)

The GuardianTramp

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