Australia's coronavirus toll in double figures

Two more Australians have died from coronavirus, taking the nation's death toll to 11.

The two deaths are Victorian men in their 70s, the state's chief health officer confirmed on Thursday.

The federal government is tinkering with restrictions in place to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Haircuts can now be longer than 30 minutes and 10-person funeral limits can be eased in cases of hardship.

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The government has also broadened testing criteria, meaning more Australians can now be screened.

Anyone with a fever or acute respiratory infection who works in health care or aged care can now be tested for the virus.

So too can people living in areas with an elevated risk of community transmission, or where there are two or more plausibly linked cases.

This takes in aged and residential care, rural and remote Aboriginal communities, detention centres, boarding schools, and military bases that have live-in accommodation.

The Australian Medical Association says the testing criteria should be even broader, so as to better understand the virus.

Australia has been placed into an even tighter lockdown as governments desperately try to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Further restrictions on businesses, community facilities and public spaces came into effect at midnight.

Tasmanian independent senator Jacqui Lambie wants the nation to go into a full lockdown by midnight Friday.

"For goodness' sake prime minister, we don't want any more 35 minutes of your dribble, please make a decision that a leader would make," she told Nine.

"Play it safe mate and put us into lockdown unless it is for essential services, please."

Existing restrictions will inevitably lead to wider job losses as more businesses are forced to close.

Unprecedented scenes of thousands of people queuing at Centrelink offices around the country have underscored the scale of the issue.

Economists predict 814,000 Australians will be added to dole queues before the end of June.

There are more than 2500 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Australia, with hundreds of people hospitalised.

More than 169,000 people have been tested for the disease.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said one sick person could lead to 400 more contracting the disease within a month if they didn't stick to distancing and quarantine measures.

All non-urgent elective surgery has been put on indefinite hold in a bid to free up capacity across the hospital system.

The government is sending text messages telling Australians: "Stop the spread, stay 1.5m from others, follow rules on social gatherings, wash hands, stay home if sick".

Open house inspections and auctions are banned as are personal services.

Most community facilities will also close, including libraries, swimming pools, RSL clubs, galleries and community centres.

Weddings will be restricted to the couple, celebrant and two witnesses only.

State governments will also be policing social gatherings in public spaces and in people's houses.

The government has also used biosecurity laws to ban Australians from travelling overseas.

 

 

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