Coronavirus updates LIVE: National cabinet to discuss hotspot definition and hotel quarantine, global cases near 30 million


  • National cabinet will meet today to discuss hotel quarantine arrangements for new international arrival caps as well as a definition of a hotspot after a tense fortnight between some states, fuelled by border issues.
  • Victoria recorded 28 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, its lowest daily total in three months. Experts have warned suburban contact tracing hubs need to be established as soon as possible in Melbourne to ensure numbers keep declining.
  • There were just five new cases in NSW, where it was announced stadiums would be allowed to host half their seated capacity from October – a doubling of the current cap.
  • Coronavirus federal health measures including subsidised telehealth and free testing have been extended to March 2021.
  • There have been 29.9 million coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally. Britain has imposed tougher restrictions on people and businesses in parts of north-eastern England as the nation attempts to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Today's front pages

Here's what is making news on the front pages of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age today.

  • Australians wanting to consult their doctor via phone or video call will continue to get access to subsidised telehealth until March in a $2 billion extension of coronavirus measures.

  • Sydney Harbour's ailing tourist hub The Rocks will be the first suburb transformed into an outdoor dining and rooftop destination as part of the state government's push to save the hospitality industry and avoid COVID-19 outbreaks.

  • The Victorian government should set up promised suburban contact tracing hubs swiftly to contain fresh outbreaks of coronavirus, experts say, arguing delays could mean the spread of infection takes longer to control.

  • Former health and finance department boss Jane Halton will give premiers and chief ministers a verbal briefing on the findings of her review of quarantine arrangements across the country, with government sources saying the review should prompt a discussion of the differing levels of quality of quarantine arrangements

Tougher restrictions imposed in England amid rising COVID-19 infections

Britain has imposed tougher restrictions on people and businesses in parts of north-eastern England as the nation attempts to stem the spread of COVID-19 before the colder winter months.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the House of Commons that the new measures would include a ban on residents socialising with people outside their own households, ordering leisure and entertainment venues to close from 10pm to 5am and restricting bars and restaurants to table service only.

People queue at a walk-in COVID-19 testing centre in Bolton, in northern England. Credit:Getty Images

He also promised £2.7 billion pounds ($4.7 billion) to support the National Health Service this winter. "The battle against coronavirus is not over, and while we strain every sinew to spring free from its clutches, with winter on the horizon we must prepare, bolster our defences and come together once again against this common foe," Hancock said.

The comments came after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that authorities will have to impose tougher measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 and "protect" the Christmas holidays. In a piece published in The Sun newspaper, he said that the only way to be certain the country can enjoy the winter holidays "is to be tough now".

Figures released late on Wednesday showed 3991 new confirmed cases during the previous 24 hours, up from 3105 a day earlier.

  • Read more in our wrap of world coronavirus news from overnight

Welcome to Friday's blog

Good morning, and a happy national cabinet Friday to you. Welcome to our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic in Australia and beyond. This is Mary Ward taking you through the morning's developments.

Yes, a fortnight has passed since the last fateful national cabinet meeting – where a consensus model was dropped after the group failed to agree on a number of issues – and today's talks between state and territory leaders and the Prime Minister are set to pick up where it left off, with a national hotspot definition to be discussed.

Also on the agenda is hotel quarantine arrrangements (former health and finance department boss Jane Halton has finished her review, which will be presented to the group), particularly in light of the federal government's plan to lift international arrivals from 4000 to 6000 each week.

We will also be receiving daily case updates from each state. Yesterday, Victoria recorded just 28 new cases, it's lowest total in three months. Stay with us as it all unfolds.

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