Australia news LIVE: NSW eases COVID restrictions; Israel-Palestine conflict continues

Key posts

  • NSW pressures Morrison government on international borders
  • Gaza City hostilities ‘absolutely appalling’: UN
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NSW pressures Morrison government on international borders

You might recall that in the aftermath of the Morrison government’s second pandemic budget last week NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she was “more ambitious” than her federal counterparts when it came to the re-opening of international borders.

The federal budget assumes that borders will remain closed until mid-2022.

Having a whale of a time. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Treasurer Dominic Perrottet.Credit:Brook Mitchell

Now, NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has ratcheted up the pressure on borders, write Alexandra Smith, Rachel Clun and Liam Mannix.

“A vaccine target that we can work towards will give business and community confidence that we will not be closed off to the world indefinitely,” Mr Perrottet told the Herald.

But Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday the country could not use vaccinations alone as a reason for reopening its borders.

“Even in that circumstance, you’re still talking about millions of Australians who wouldn’t have been vaccinated because a, they’re children, or b, they’ve chosen not to be,” Mr Morrison said.

Australia passed the three-million mark for administered vaccine doses on Friday.

Read the full article here.

Gaza City hostilities ‘absolutely appalling’: UN

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the UN Security Council on Sunday that the Israel-Palestine hostilities, which have escalated dramatically over the past week, were “utterly appalling” and called for an immediate ceasefire.

Opening the 15-member council’s first public meeting on the conflict, Guterres said the United Nations was actively working towards a ceasefire and called on both sides to allow mediation talks.

A ball of fire erupts from a media building in Gaza City after an Israeli airstrike.Credit:AP

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israeli air strikes on Gaza City, which started on May 14, were continuing at “full force”. At least 42 people were killed on Sunday, medics said.

Peter Greste, founding director and spokesman for the Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom, writes that “on Saturday, an Israeli air strike destroyed an 11-storey apartment building used by local and international media companies, including the Associated Press news agency and Al Jazeera, my former employer”.

“It followed similar strikes on Tuesday and Wednesday targeting high-rise residential buildings that foreign and local journalists also used as offices,” he says.

World editor Michelle Griffin joined Nathanael Cooper last week on our podcast, Please Explain, to discuss the growing tensions in the volatile region.

Welcome to our live coverage of the day’s events

Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of the day’s events. I’m Michaela Whitbourn and I’ll be keeping you informed of this morning’s need-to-know news and analysis.

Here’s what has happened overnight:

Palestinians attend the funeral of two women and eight children of the Abu Hatab family in Gaza City, who were killed by an Israeli air strike, on Saturday.Credit:AP

  • Temporary social restrictions imposed in Greater Sydney (including Wollongong, the Central Coast and the Blue Mountains) eased at 12.01 this morning. The restrictions were imposed after an eastern suburbs man and his wife tested positive to COVID-19. The man’s infection was linked to a returned traveller from the US, but the “missing link” between his infection and the traveller was never found. The couple remain the only locally detected cases to date of the B.1.617 variant of the virus in NSW, which was first detected in India in October. The state reported no new locally acquired cases, and three overseas acquired cases, in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday.
  • The Israel-Palestine conflict continues to escalate. Israeli air strikes on Gaza City flattened three buildings and killed at least 42 people on Sunday, medics said, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested the war between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza would continue despite international efforts to broker a ceasefire.
  • The first repatriation flight from India to Australia since a temporary travel ban lifted landed in Darwin on Saturday with 80 of its estimated 150 scheduled passengers. More than 70 were barred from flying after either testing positive during their mandatory three-day hotel stay in Delhi or being listed as close contacts of those cases. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government would work with Qantas to ensure no more COVID-positive cases entered Australia from India after an Australian man received a positive nasal swab test result for COVID-19 after landing in Darwin. But the man has since tested negative and had previously had the virus, so the infection may be historical.
  • No new local cases of coronavirus were detected in Victoria on Saturday following a positive case in a Melbourne man who acquired the virus in South Australian hotel quarantine before returning to the state on May 4.
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