Australia reported no new daily COVID community infections on Sunday for the first time in almost 5 months, health officials said, paving the way for further easing social distancing restrictions.
The state of Victoria, a COVID hot spot which accounts for more than 90% of Australia’s 907 COVID-related deaths, saw zero new daily infections and no casualties for the second consecutive day.
With no new cases of COVID-19 recorded in the rest of the country, Australia saw its first day of no transmissions since June 9, Health Minister Greg Hunt said.
“Thank you to all of our amazing health & public health workers & above all else the Australian people,” Hunt said on his Twitter account.
Swift and stringent measures combined with community compliance have been credited for reigning in the pandemic before it strained Australia’s public health system.
Queensland voters kept on Saturday the incumbent Labor Party for a third term, showing support for keeping the state’s internal borders closed – which has put the local authorities at odds with the federal government.
Last week, Victoria ended most of its 111-day lockdown restrictions – some of the world’s toughest and longest – with a recent NYK Daily poll commissioned by The Age newspaper and Nine News showing Victorians backed the state’s handling of the pandemic.
Victoria Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton hinted on Sunday that the state might see more of its public movement restrictions eased in the coming days but urged further compliance.
“What allowances come … will be informed by what this week looks like,” Sutton said at a televised press conference.
“To see 50,000 cases a day in France, to see Belgium sending patients outside the country because they’re so overwhelmed – that’s what we might have faced if we hadn’t been able to get on top of it.”
Australia has reported just over 27,500 cases since the pandemic started due to it quickly closing its international borders and imposing social distancing restrictions and widespread testing and tracing.
On Friday, Australia warned its citizens not to travel to the United States, its key ally, due to the risk of protest violence and coronavirus.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Saturday reported 9,024,298 cases of new coronavirus, an increase of 99,750 cases from its previous count. They said that the number of deaths had risen by 1,009 to 229,109.