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What you need to know about COVID-19 today, Thursday April 9.

New fines introduced for spitting on NSW frontline staff.

People who spit on NSW health workers, police or other public health officials during the COVID-19 pandemic could be slapped with a $5000 on-the-spot fine.

The tough new measure is in response to the “abhorrent” acts of some individuals in recent weeks, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard and Police Minister David Elliott say.

Mr Hazzard says doctors, nurses, police and paramedics put their own health and safety on the line to protect NSW residents and the government will be treating threats to them as a “threat to us”.

“How incredibly ridiculous is it that anybody can think it is acceptable to spit on or cough on frontline health workers, health officials, police or any of our border force officials,” he said on Thursday.

“We’re telling you, stop it or you’ll cop it.”

People risk being fined $5000 for breaching the new public health order, which was signed on Thursday.

Mr Elliott said people who intentionally spit or cough on police officers during the pandemic could also face prosecution and up to six months in prison.

NRL season planned to restart on May 28.

The Australian Rugby League Commission is planning to restart the NRL competition on May 28, with plans to complete the remaining 22 rounds of the regular season and finish in November.

Following landmark meetings with the NRL’s innovation committee on Thursday, the ARLC has approved plans to get the competition up and running almost 10 weeks after it was suspended.

It would make the NRL the first major sport in the world to recommence a competition during the coronavirus pandemic.


State of Origin will also remain in a standard three-game format with one grand final in Sydney.

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The commission is considering two season structures, but are leaning towards completing the remaining 22 rounds of a regular NRL season rather than playing in conferences to satisfy broadcasters in delicate negotiations that will begin next week.

It comes after free-to-air broadcast partners Channel Nine released a scathing statement accusing the NRL of mismanaging funds, and leaving them with an unfulfilled contract.

Queensland introduces new border restrictions.

Queensland is enforcing strict new measures to stop Queenslanders visiting New South Wales over the Easter long weekend.

Queenslanders who travel into New South Wales will need a permit to return to their home state from midnight Friday.

Anyone who is returning from the Greater Sydney area will also be required to quarantine for 14 days.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Queenslanders should be staying in Queensland.

“This is no time to be travelling past the border and there’s real risks that you pose, not only to yourself and your family, but to other Queenslanders if you choose to go into some New South Wales hotspots,” she said on Thursday.

“It’s a pretty strong measure but my message to Queenslanders is now is not the time to go into New South Wales.”

There have been just 10 new confirmed cases in Queensland overnight, bringing to state’s total to 953.

NSW offering free preschool for six months.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says the $50 million measure is to help families who are under pressure.

The state package will complement the federal government’s childcare package which is helping to fund 13,000 childcare and early learning centres.

“We know that sector has been hit quite hard by COVID-19… This is all about making sure this is cost-effective for parents. We know how crucial early childhood education is,” NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said.

Police to use number plate recognition to track those travelling over Easter.

NSW police will patrol caravan parks and use technology such as number plate recognition to ensure people are following social distancing rules over the Easter long weekend.

The state’s police commissioner has warned officers will be out in force to ensure people are abiding by the road rules, and public health orders designed to tackle the coronavirus threat.

“The big focus will be on our country roads, those back streets, our main highways, the caravan parks right across country NSW,” Mick Fuller told reporters yesterday.

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“People will be given one opportunity to pack up, go back to your home state, go back home, otherwise we will unfortunately have to issue tickets.”

Police are also conducting a state-wide road safety operation over the long weekend, with traffic offences attracting double demerit points.

An MP has been caught bending the rules, with the Daily Telegraph reporting Arts Minister Don Harwin is staying at his Central Coast holiday home, even after the government pleaded with Sydneysiders to stay away from regional towns.

Harwin lives in the Sydney suburb of Elizabeth Bay and told the publication he has been living up the coast for “three weeks for health reasons”.

QLD has issued a similar warning to its citizens, with police commissioner Katarina Carroll confirming there will be more officers on the state’s roads performing random checks to ensure people are self isolating.

Islands off the coast have been closed to visitors and people are being told to “stay in their homes, or at the very least, their suburbs”.

police Easter
Police will be out in force over the Easter long weekend. Image: Glenn Hunt/Getty Images.
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In Victoria, thousands are doing the work of police for them.

Yesterday the state's crime reporting line for non-urgent police matters was flooded by 2,600 complaints. Of those, 2,350 were for COVID-19, and most were about people breaking self-isolation.

In WA, there's been a warning from police - with more people than usual visiting beaches in Perth.

The state's deputy police commissioner says there's too many people simply laying about socialising on the coast.

At the moment, locals are allowed to exercise outside in pairs and go for a quick swim, but then they must pack up and go home.

WA Premier Mark McGowan has repeatedly warned beaches could be closed if too many people ignore the social distancing directives - a move which has already been taken for many beaches along the east coast.

JobKeeper passes federal parliament.

Last night, the federal parliament passed the Morrison government's $130 billion JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme during a special sitting day in Canberra.

The tax office will give businesses with a 30 per cent fall in turnover, $1500 for each worker a fortnight, with payments to reach employers in the first week of May.

morrison-lucky-country
The Morrison government's JobKeeper passed parliament last night. Image: Getty.
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For companies with a turnover of $1 billion, a 50 per cent downturn will be needed to qualify.

More than 730,000 businesses have registered for the program.

Woman gouges supermarket worker's eyes.

A woman has allegedly spat in a supermarket worker's face and gouged her eyes after being denied entry to a store on the NSW South Coast.

Police say the 35-year-old became verbally abusive after being asked by staff to observe social distancing measures at the supermarket at Vincentia, southeast of Nowra about 3pm yesterday.

When a store worker, aged 49, asked the woman to leave she allegedly spat in her face and a fight erupted.

The younger woman allegedly pulled the worker's hair, gouged her eyes and damaged her jewellery before leaving.

Police later arrested the 35-year-old at a home and charged her with common assault, assault occasioning bodily harm and damaging property.

Tasmania's cases rise above 100.

Tasmania has passed 100 coronavirus cases with more health staff testing positive amid an outbreak at a hospital in the state's northwest.

Nine new cases were confirmed last night, taking the number to 107.

Three of those are staff, four are patients who recently received care at two different hospitals.

12 health staff in the north west have previously tested positive to the virus, as have two inpatients.

Premier Peter Gutwein has described the outbreak as "greatly concerning."

As of Wednesday evening, there are 6,010 cases of coronavirus and 50 deaths in Australia.

The current COVID-19 figures.

My Kitchen Rules chef handing out free food.

My Kitchen Rules judge Colin Fassnidge spent yesterday in the car park of the Banksia Hotel in Sydney's south handing out free food.

The celebrity chef usually cooks at the Banksia's Bistro, but this time, he was feeding people from the trunk of his car which was filled with containers of meals made from donated food from local producers.

Celebrity Chef Colin Fassnidge Offers Free Food To Those In Need During Coronavirus Lockdown
Chef Colin Fassnidge has been handing out free food in Sydney's south. Image: Don Arnold/Getty Images.
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The 46-year-old has launched an online cooking show with his wife and daughters while in lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Leaders to discuss options for Year 12 today.

Federal and state leaders will discuss a unified approach for Year 12 students as schools prepare to shift to online learning due to coronavirus.

National cabinet will meet today to discuss a way forward for students in their final year.

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan has promised there won't be a "Year 13."

The Australian National University has announced they will use the year 11 results of students applying for undergraduate spots to make them an offer in August.

Vice-Chancellor Brian Schmidt hopes the move will give thousands of school-leavers some certainty.

NY records big leap in coronavirus deaths.

The number of coronavirus cases in New York state alone approached 150,000 yesterday, surpassing Spain for the most infections anywhere in the world.

New York and neighbouring New Jersey again reported new single-day highs for coronavirus deaths.

Field Hospital Set Up At Cathedral Of St. John The Divine As City Fights To Contain Coronavirus
Volunteers prepare to set up beds in what will be a field hospital in the Cathedral Church of St. John in New York City. Image: Spencer Platt/Getty Images.
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New York state has 149,316 reported cases compared to Spain's 146,690, according to a Reuters tally. In total, the United States has recorded more than 417,000 coronavirus cases and 14,100 deaths.

New York officials said a recent surge in the number of people dying at home suggests that the most populous US city may be under-counting how many people have died of COVID-19.

Trump threatening to cut WHO funding.

US President Donald Trump has threatened to put contributions to the World Health Organisation on hold.

The United States is the top donor to the Geneva-based body which Trump says has issued "bad advice" during the coronavirus outbreak.

"The W.H.O. really blew it," Trump said in a Twitter post.

"For some reason, funded largely by the United States, yet very China centric. We will be giving that a good look. Fortunately I rejected their advice on keeping our borders open to China early on. Why did they give us such a faulty recommendation?"

Trump repeated the accusations against the UN health organisation at a White House news briefing.

"They called it wrong. They really - they missed the call," the President said. "And we're going to put a hold on money spent to the WHO. We're going to put a very powerful hold on it and we're going to see."

But WHO officials defended their organisation against Trump's claims.

"We are still in the acute phase of a pandemic so now is not the time to cut back on funding," Dr Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, told a virtual briefing.

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Boris Johnson improving in hospital.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains in intensive care with coronavirus but his condition is improving and he "can sit up in bed," said finance minister Rishi Sunak.

Johnson was admitted to hospital on Sunday, 10 days after being diagnosed with COVID-19. He was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit on Monday when his condition deteriorated.

"The latest from the hospital is that the Prime Minister remains in intensive care where his condition is improving," Sunak said in a press briefing.

Boris Johnson died
Boris Johnson is improving in hospital - and is even sitting up in bed. Image: Getty.

"I can also tell you that he has been sitting up in bed and been engaging positively with the clinical team."

Johnson's spokesman, James Slack, said earlier the PM continues to receive "standard oxygen treatment" and is breathing without any other assistance.

The UK reported the largest daily rise in deaths from coronavirus in its last 24 hours - up by 938 - taking the total death toll to 7,097.

- With AAP

Feature image: NSW Police/Twitter.

To protect yourself and the community from COVID-19, keep at least 1.5 metres away from other people, regularly wash your hands and avoid touching your face.
If you are sick and believe you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your GP ahead of time to book an appointment. Or call the national Coronavirus Health Information Line for advice on 1800 020 080. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.
To keep up to date with the latest information, please visit the Department of Health website.

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