Coronavirus updates LIVE: Victorian COVID-19 cases in decline as health alerts issued for multiple Sydney venues; Australian death toll stands at 652


  • Victoria recorded 73 daily cases on Monday, its lowest total since July 3. Premier Daniel Andrews has announced he will reveal a roadmap out of the state’s restrictions on Sunday.
  • There is optimism about containing the Sydney CBD cluster, with NSW recording just four community cases. The state government is resisting calls to make face masks compulsory on public transport.
  • Aged care homes will have to employ on-site infection control officers to receive newly announced COVID-19 prevention funding as it is revealed the federal regulator did not enforce infection control standards in some Melbourne homes until they had more than 50 cases.
  • The Australian economy is set to shrink to 2016 levels, with tomorrow’s June quarter results due to confirm the nation’s first recession since the 1990s. Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed sales of accommodation and food services alone dropped by 39.1 per cent, while those in arts and recreation tumbled by 37.1 per cent.
  • There have been 25.3 million cases of coronavirus worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally, with India emerging as the new virus epicentre. The global death toll has passeed 847,000.

Today's front pages

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

  • Workplaces will have to overhaul their safety procedures to earn a green light to operate under a new set of social distancing restrictions to be implemented by the Andrews government as Victoria emerges from lockdown.

  • State premiers will be urged to embrace a national approach to opening the economy in a federal plan to tell Australians when they will be able to cross state borders before national cabinet this Friday.

  • Vulnerable Victorians who tested positive to coronavirus and have nowhere to safely isolate are being turned away from hotel quarantine, which some fear could spark another community outbreak of COVID-19.

  • A timeline provided to the Senate's COVID-19 committee shows the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission issued 13 Victorian residential facilities with "notices to agree" in the five months to August 4, but 10 already had outbreaks of the disease when the action was taken.

  • The Australian economy could shrink to where it was when Malcolm Turnbull narrowly won the 2016 election, with new figures revealing sales across almost every industry have collapsed, dragging down workers' incomes.

  • NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is resisting calls to mandate face masks on public transport, insisting as many as 60 per cent of people are already wearing them despite recent Transport for NSW figures drawn from CCTV footage indicating the number could be closer to 30 per cent.

India is becoming the world's new coronavirus epicentre

India is fast becoming the world's new virus epicentre, setting a record for the biggest single-day rise in cases as experts predict that it will soon pass Brazil — and ultimately the US — as the worst outbreak globally, Bloomberg reports.

As many as 78,512 new cases were added on Monday taking the total tally to over 3.6 million. On Sunday, India reported the highest ever one-day surge among all major countries. With 971 reported deaths, the Asian country pushed past Mexico for the third-highest number of deaths worldwide. At the present trajectory, India's outbreak will eclipse Brazil's in about a week, and the US in about two months.

And unlike the US and Brazil, India's case growth is still accelerating seven months after the reporting of its first coronavirus case on January 30. The pathogen has only just penetrated the vast rural hinterland where the bulk of its 1.3 billion population lives, after racing through its dense mega-cities.

Across the developing world, economies have been forced to open up even with the virus still running rampant, quickly overwhelming underfunded hospitals.

The list of worst-affected countries globally has accordingly shifted from rich to poor as the pandemic races around the world. Where once countries like Italy, Spain and the UK had the biggest outbreaks and highest death tolls, now the US is the only advanced economy in the top ten, among other developing nations like Mexico, Peru and South Africa.

  • Read more in our recap of coronavirus news from across the world overnight

Thai restaurant in Sydney's inner west closes

A Thai restaurant in Sydney's inner west has closed for cleaning after a person attended while infectious.

Time for Thai, on Newtown's King Street, has shut its doors "until further notice" after a person who later tested positive to coronavirus dined in last week.

The person ate at the restaurant on Friday between 6pm and 7.30pm. In a Facebook post, the restaurant advised people who were there during that time to contact NSW Health and self-isolate.

We have contacted NSW Health for clarification on whether there is a self-isolation direction in place, as one does not appear on their website.

Welcome to today's blog

Good morning and welcome to today's live – and free – coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

Australia saw lower daily case totals on Monday, with fewer than 100 cases recorded across the country. Victoria recorded 73 new cases, its lowest total since July 3, and NSW recorded four community cases linked to the Sydney CBD cluster and six in hotel quarantine. The Queensland corrective services cluster increased by just one case.

With cases being brought under control, restrictions are in the spotlight, particularly border restrictions. The nation's agriculture ministers are meeting today to discuss a plan for free movement of labour they will take to national cabinet on Friday, where Prime Minister Scott Morrison will be seeking an exit strategy on border restrictions. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is in Albury today to announce an easing of restrictions on the NSW-Victoria border.

We will be bringing you live coverage throughout the day. If there's something happening in your community you think we have missed, you can send me a tweet or an email.

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