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Coronavirus updates LIVE: Melbourne restrictions ease, NSW sees no new cases, death toll stands at 870


  • Childcare centres can reopen and the curfew has been scrapped under eased restrictions in Melbourne this morning. However, there are also new mask rules coming into force, with Victorians now required to wear a fitted mask covering the nose and mouth. 
  • There were 16 new coronavirus cases recorded in Victoria yesterday, 15 of which were linked to known clusters.
  • There were no new coronavirus cases recorded elsewhere in the country on Sunday. The last time NSW had a day with no new cases reported was June 10.
  • New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has told local media it is “possible” her country will have a travel bubble with Australia by Christmas.

Today's front pages

Here's what is making news on the front pages of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age this morning.

  • The coronavirus recession has bent but not broken the federal budget, one of the nation's chief forecasters believes, as economists urge Treasurer Josh Frydenberg not to scrimp on stimulus measures despite facing a deficit of $200 billion.
  • Victoria's coronavirus restrictions are set to be relaxed earlier than anticipated and primary school students will be back in the classroom sooner under the government's revised lockdown plan.
  • Former trade union leader Ingrid Stitt will take the vacancy in Premier Daniel Andrews’ cabinet created by Saturday’s dramatic resignation of Health Minister Jenny Mikakos from Parliament.

Trans-Tasman bubble 'possible' by Christmas: Ardern

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has told local media it is "possible" her country will have a travel bubble with Australia by Christmas.

Ms Ardern made the comment on TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning. She gave further details in an interview with NewstalkZB's Mike Hosking, saying New Zealand would likely be part of Australia's "hotspot" arrangement, as was flagged by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison earlier this month.

"Our view was that we would always be able to get movement between Australia and New Zealand open sooner if they were taking a hotspot or state-by-state approach," she said, noting there could be issues with isolating travellers on the basis of a hotspot definition.

"Currently everything that's coming in and out of Australia and New Zealand has travellers coming in and out of 'COVID areas' so you have to completely segregate those fliers."

Ms Ardern said she hoped she would be discussing the matter with Mr Morrison soon.

What changes in Melbourne today?

Here is a handy list of every restriction which has changed in Melbourne today. A few things to highlight:

  • The 5km rule is still in place, although those allowed to work on-site can now make note of another 5km rule: the radius from their workplace. From today, you will be allowed to exercise within this radius.
  • Childcare centres, dentists, pet groomers and a number of health services will be reopening today.
  • Scarves, bandannas and face shields will not count as acceptable face coverings. You need to be wearing a mask which fits over your mouth and nose.

From now on, restrictions will be eased on the basis of case targets, not set dates. Also, the fine for holding an unlawful gathering has been upped to $5000 – mirroring the fine for Melburnians attempting to travel to regional Victoria.

Welcome to today's blog

Good morning and welcome to today's blog. This is Mary Ward on the tools for our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic in Australia and beyond this morning.

Melbourne: you're getting there. The city has woken up to new freedoms today after Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews accelerated its roadmap to recovery at a press conference on Sunday. Among the changes are childcare centres reopening and the curfew canned. You can read the full list of eased restrictions – and those to come – here.

As for the rest of the country, it is well possible we are setting into what Mr Andrews would call "COVID-normal": there were no coronavirus cases recorded elsewhere in Australia on Sunday, and Queensland and NSW both eased restrictions further last week.

We will be bringing you live updates, and the best of our coronavirus coverage in this morning's papers, throughout the day. If there is something happening in your community you think we should know about, send me a tweet or use the below email form. Thanks for reading.

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