COVID-19 update: test restrictions eased

corona group pic

People with at least two coronavirus symptoms are now eligible to be tested, even if they haven't been overseas or in direct contact with a confirmed case, provided they meet certain other conditions.

A meeting between state and federal leaders last night agreed to expand the criteria for testing but only for people who work in health or aged care, the military, or who live at boarding school, inprison or in a remote indigenous community.

Death toll reaches 11

Two men aged in their 70s have died from coronavirus, the first fatalities recorded in Victoria.

It comes after a passenger aboard a cruise liner that docked in Sydney last week lost his fight for life.

The 68-year-old Queenslander was already suffering from a serious underlying illness.

Victoria and Queensland have both recorded two deaths from coronavirus, while six people have died in NSW and one in Western Australia.

Royal family infected

Princ Charles says he feels fine and is only showing mild symptoms, after testing positive for coronavirus.

The 71-year-old heir to the throne says he is now working from home and self-isolating with his wife Camilla. whose test came back negative.

The Queen and Prince Phillip were recently evacuated from Buckingham Palace.

Police seek extra powers

The Police Association is demanding more powers for officers to help them enforce self-isolation, and better use resources.

In NSW, Crime Stoppers says it is receiving hundreds of calls a day from people dobbing in others who have returned from overseas but are not self-isolating.


People who have lost their jobs because of the coronavrus outbreak can now apply for Jobseeker payments via the MyGov website.

Hank Yongen from Services Australia says people will be personally contacted once their form is lodged.

"We will do it as quickly as possible," he said.

"But as you can appreciate, if we've already got 200,000 ... claims in the system it doesn't mean you'tre goping to get a call within th next hour or two."

Banks offer a helping hand

Additional support is being rolled out to support people who have been hit hard financially by the coronavirus outbreak.

Banks have begun offering repayment deferrals on credit cards and personal loans, while the energy industry is expected to unveil a temporary halt to disconnections.

However real estate agents are resisting calls for rental payments to be suspended, saying it would mean landlords would effectively be providing social housing.

The NSW government has already banned evictions for at least six months.

Aussie drones to the rescue

An Australian company is using drones piloted from Melbourne to deliver crucial coronavirus supplies in Africa.

Swoop Aero is the first drone logistics company to operate aircraft from a different country to the one where they're actually being flown.

The move was forced on Swoop after international lockdowns prevented staff from travelling to Africa.

Praying for a cure

The Pope has joined Christians around the world in a simultaneous prayer asking God to stop the coronavirus pandemic.

Millions of people recited the Lord's Prayer at 10pm last night our time.

Spain deaths rise but positive signs in Italy, China

Spain has now recorded more deaths from coronavirus than China, where the illness was first detected.

Almost 3,500 people have died from the illness in Spain, where ice skating rinks are now being used to house bodies to ease pressure on the country's morgues.

However there are encouraging signs in italy, where the number of new cases appears to be levelling out.

In Wuhan, China, once considered to be the pandemic's epicentre, people are being allowed to leave their homes fr the first time in months.

Mayor swears by drones

A mayor in Italy wants to equip drones with loudspeakers so they can swear at people who ignore stay-at-home rules.

Cateno De Luca, the mayor of Messina in Sicily, and says he would be happy to record the voice tracks himself.

He says drones that spot people who should be in isolation would swoop down and yell, "'where the f*** are you going? Go back home!."

The mayor says the drones would follow the person and continue hurling abuse until they returned home.