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Coronavirus updates LIVE: Mask rules set to relax as Victoria moves to last stage of easing, NSW to open to Victorians tomorrow


  • With just one active case of COVID-19 in Victoria and 22 days straight without new infections or deaths, experts anticipate face coverings will be among the rules eased by Premier Daniel Andrews today.
  • At least 20 detectives are investigating the Adelaide pizza shop where an employee on a temporary graduate visa lied to contact tracers, plunging South Australia into the hardest lockdown in the country which ended last night.
  • NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian wants to use a third of the state’s hotel quarantine slots to bring in international students and skilled migrants, starting in as soon as six weeks, in a move that would cut the number of overseas Australians able to come home through NSW.
  • There are currently 91 active cases across Australia.
  • There have now been over 57 million cases of coronavirus worldwide and 1.3 million deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally. 

Our front pages today

A quick glance at what made the covers the hard copies of our newspapers today:

From The Sunday Age:

  • Melbourne’s airport rail link route has drawn criticism for leaving fast-growing western suburbs with congested train networks and breaking state and federal promises of half-hour trips to Geelong, reports Timna Jacks.
  • The Melbourne we know and love is finally returning, reports Kerrie O’Brien. Restaurants and bars are buzzing, museums and galleries are open and the CBD, quiet for so long, is starting to thrum. After an eight-month shutdown, news of each return to normal is a source of joy; every day feels a little bit celebratory.
  • Victoria will start taxing electric vehicle owners next year for every kilometre they drive in a budget initiative the state Labor government says will make road charging "fairer" for all motorists, reports Noel Towell.

Making news in the The Sun-Herald:

  • NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian wants to use a third of the state's hotel quarantine slots to bring in international students and skilled migrants reports Michael Koziol. Starting in as soon as six weeks, the move that would cut the number of overseas Australians able to come home through NSW.
  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he is distressed and disturbed by the damning report into war crimes allegedly committed by Australia's special forces but warned against a "media trial" ahead of the justice system dealing with the findings. Read more from Jennifer Duke here.
  • And parents and football insiders have taken aim at Football NSW's system to develop youth players, accusing clubs of running a cliquey and "cut-throat" system not in the best interests of children or the game of soccer reports Caitlin Fitzsimmons.

Donald Trump Jr doing 'very well' after COVID-19 infection: President Trump

President Donald Trump said Saturday his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., is doing “very well” in quarantine after becoming infected with the coronavirus.

“My son Donald is doing very well. Thank you!” the president tweeted, following Friday’s disclosure that the 42-year-old Trump scion had become one of the nearly 12 million Americans infected by the virus.

More than 250,000 Americans have lost their lives to the virus, the highest death toll of any country.

Donald Trump Jr. learned of his positive test result earlier this week, has had no symptoms and was following all medically recommended guidelines for treating the illness, said a spokesperson, who was granted anonymity to discuss private medical information.

President-elect Joe Biden made President Trump’s response to the virus a top issue in the recently concluded race for the White House, though Trump has yet to acknowledge the outcome.

President Trump, first lady Melania Trump and their son Barron have all recovered from their coronavirus infections in October. The president spent three days in a military hospital, where he was treated with experimental drugs; the first lady weathered her illness at the White House.

Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, tested positive for the coronavirus in July.

Scores of people who work for or associate with the president have also recovered from recent infections, including White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Lockdowns start to take effect in Italy and France

The effects of l ockdowns in two major European countries have begun to produce results, with decreases in the rate of infections and slight easing of rules now on the cards.

Italy registered 34,767 new cases on Saturday, about 2,500 fewer than the previous day.

The government recently put the majority of Italy’s regions under new restrictions, including banning dining at cafes and restaurants in areas where the health care system risked collapse.

Meanwhile, the number of new coronavirus infections in France rose by 17,881 on Saturday, lower than the 22,882 reported on Friday.

The French health ministry also reported 276 new deaths from the virus in hospitals over 24 hours, against 386 on Friday.

Total deaths in France from the virus now stand at 48,518, of which 33,231 were in hospitals.

The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 dropped for the fifth day in a row and was down at 31,365.

The number of patients in intensive care units also dropped for the fifth consecutive day and was down at 4,493.

On Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron will give a speech to the nation about the virus situation and may announce a partial relaxation of nationwide lockdown rules which have been in place since Oct. 30.

The retail industry hopes to be able to reopen shops selling "non-essential" goods such as clothes, shoes and toys.

Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Saturday he hoped this could happen "within a few days".

  • AP and Reuters

We're back! And good morning

Good morning readers, Rachael Dexter here to bring you this special edition of the national live coronavirus blog today.

It's been a week since we stopped running a live daily coronavirus blog, and wow – what a week it was!

We had a the lock down, and then un-lockdown in South Australia on the back of fears that a cluster in Adelaide's north could have spread across the state. As of last night South Australia has returned to a more normal level of coronavirus restrictions.

We've resurrected the blog today for a big announcement out of Victoria that is likely to see the mandatory rules on masks outdoors eased, and we may also get an idea of when the state will move to 'COVID-normal' if Victoria reaches 28 days of no new cases – widely considered to be the definition of eliminating COVID-19.

Get in touch this morning if you have news tips on email or Twitter.

Let's kick things off.

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