THURSDAY, April 2 (4pm)
The Prime Minister has announced that child care will be made available for free for parents who continue working during the coronavirus pandemic.
In a major announcement that had been anticipated, Mr Morrison said The Federal Government will pay half of the operating costs of Australia’s 13,000 childcare and early learning centres. Those operating costs will be based on centres’; attendance levels in February — before parents began pulling their children out of care in large numbers. But to qualify for the cash, a childcare centre must remain open and must not charge families for care.
The announcement comes after the sector pleaded for a bailout, saying it was facing a crisis like never before because of a massive hit to both of its income streams because of falling attendance.
Many centres have already closed.
Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan said the sector would be overhauled to provide free care for working parents from next week.
“The old system was drafted for a pre-pandemic time,” he said.
“We’ll be moving to a different childcare system as of Sunday night. It will be a system that will mean parents will get their child care for free.
“Can I say to all of those parents: what we want to do by doing this is ensure your childcare centre will remain open so that where you normally take your child to get cared for, that will be there for you so you are not looking to have to go to a new centre.”
In other developments, the NSW coronavirus social-distancing laws will end after 90 days and starting Friday, anyone trying to enter Queensland without a valid pass will be turned away.
Globally, as the World Health Organisation predicted the world will reach one million cases and 50,000 deaths “in the coming days”, the number of infections in the US hit 186,000, with 3,603 deaths while in the UK another 563 patients with coronavirus have died taking the total number of deaths to 2,352.
“People will have gotten the message by then, hopefully,” he told media this morning.
Mr Fuller said three tickets were handed out in the past 24 hours in relation to social distancing, giving the example of four men in a park drinking alcohol.
“Three of the men left, one refused to go. He got a $1,000 ticket. You know, I think it’s entirely appropriate,” he said.
Mr Fuller added that he was personally reviewing every fine handed out, saying any ticket he believed was unreasonable would be “withdrawn immediately”.
NSW health authorities have confirmed 116 new coronavirus infections, bringing the state’s total to 2,298.
From Friday, anyone who does not have a state government permit proving they have a legitimate reason for cross-border travel will be denied entry.
Freight trucks are exempt, along with travel for work and medical reasons.
“We are still getting hundreds of people coming across our border,” she has told Seven Network, before warning: “No permit, no pass come Friday.”
Ms Palaszczuk said all Australians must prepare for a long period living under severe restrictions, including not leaving home unless it’s really necessary.
The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported 186,101 cases of coronavirus across the country, an increase of 22,562 cases from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 743 to 3,603.
Coronavirus-related deaths in the state of New York are now approaching 2,000, mostly centred around New York City.
Governor Andrew Cuomo told a daily briefing that the number of coronavirus cases in New York had increased to 83,712, up from 75,795 a day earlier, with 1,941 deaths in total, up from 1,550 yesterday.
Meanwhile, thousands of passengers stuck on cruise ships near Florida are still waiting for that state and the Trump administration to strike a deal allowing them to disembark.
One of the two Dutch cruise ships involved is Holland America Line’s MS Zaandam, along with its sister ship the Rotterdam, which have around 100 Australians on board.
Another 563 patients with coronavirus have died in the United Kingdom, where the total number of deaths is now 2,352.
It is the country’s highest number of deaths in a single day, and marks two days in a row where the country has recorded its highest single day death toll.
More than 29,474 people have tested positive for the virus, up by more than 4,000 since yesterday.
It was a significantly smaller increase than what was seen yesterday, and the lowest daily tally since March 26.
However, the number of new cases rose more sharply than a day earlier, growing by 4,782 against a previous 4,053, bringing total infections to 110,574.
In Lombardy, the epicentre of the outbreak, the daily tallies of deaths and cases were both up compared with those of the day before, reversing the recent trend.
Italy has registered more deaths than anywhere else in the world and accounts for around 30 per cent of all global fatalities from the virus.
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