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Australia eases COVID-19 restrictions

Photo: Virus restrictions continue to ease
Much of Australia is entering a new phase of fewer COVID-19 restrictions but authorities will continue to monitor cases to ensure the country remains safe.

Australians will experience more freedom as much of the country enters a new phase of COVID-19 restrictions.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth says 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 told reporters in Canberra 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."
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.

More than 62 per cent of Australia's COVID-19 cases have been acquired overseas since January 22.

The more flexible restrictions - which differ across the states - will mean more movement in public places, including pubs, cafes, and restaurants. But authorities continue to urge the public to practise safe hygiene and social distancing measures.

From midday on Monday, Queenslanders will be able to travel statewide, while pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes will be allowed to seat up to 20 people.

The state's strict border closure will remain in place.

NSW pubs, beauty salons and museums reopen on Monday and holiday travel inside state boundaries will also be permitted.

Libraries, galleries, museums, places of worship and beauty clinics are among the venues that will be allowed to reopen in Victoria with no more than 20 people from Monday.

On Monday, venues can have up to 80 patrons in South Australia provided they are contained to groups of 20 in separate rooms or areas.

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.

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