The number of infections worldwide has hit yet another bleak milestone, surpassing 6 million, prompting Pope Francis to join other leaders to issue a warning against prematurely lifting lockdown restrictions.
About 6.1 million confirmed cases of coronavirus have been recorded in more than 210 countries and territories as of early Monday morning (Australian time), according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Latin America hit 50,000 deaths with Brazil’s virus death toll of more than 28,000 accounting for half of those fatalities.
Meanwhile, no new domestic cases have been reported for a week in China where the coronavirus first originated in December 2019.
In the UK, scientists have cautioned the government not to rush ahead with its decisions on coronavirus, warning that the country will see a resurgence of COVID-19 if the easing of restrictions is not managed properly.
It comes as Pope Francis delivered an address from his window overlooking Saint Peter’s Square for the first time in three months.
“Healing people, not saving [money] to help the economy [is important] – healing people, who are more important than the economy,” he said.
“We people are temples of the Holy Spirit, the economy is not.”
Victorian cases continue to rise
Almost 7200 Australians have tested positive to COVID-19 with over 1.45 million tests conducted. Some 478 virus cases remain active across the country, while the death toll sits at 103.
A three-year-old child is one of three new cases in Western Australia, but all were in quarantine after returning from overseas, while one of the cases from the Al Kuwait livestock ship has been hospitalised.
The ship has accounted for 20 of WA’s 28 active cases.
Victoria’s state of emergency was extended after it recorded six new cases, two of which are linked to a family outbreak in Keilor Downs, in Melbourne’s northwest which has now infected 13 people across two homes.
It also led to the closure of Keilor Downs Secondary College and Holy Eucharist Primary School in St Albans after two siblings tested positive to coronavirus earlier this week.
The schools will reopen after deep cleaning on Monday, but more than 100 students have been forced to self-isolate.
Meanwhile, the advice for adults in Victoria remains the same: If you’ve been working from home, you must continue to do so.
- Travel is returning in some places. Read more here
- From Monday, more Australians will be able to dine in restaurants and cafes. Check the latest here
From Monday, Australians will experience more freedom as much of the country enters a new phase of COVID-19 restrictions.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth said the lifting of restrictions is a balancing act between the socio-economic benefit from their removal and the public health risk.
“We’re taking a deliberately safe and cautious approach,” Professor Coatsworth said on Sunday.
“Most importantly we’re taking the time to gather the data over the coming weeks to determine whether it’s safe to move to the next round of lifting restrictions.”