Coronavirus Australia LIVE updates: Victoria chases 15th day of no new cases as rest of country moves towards re-opening; US record numbers continue

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Watch: US President Donald Trump gives update on COVID-19 vaccine

US President Donald Trump is due to give an update on COVID-19 vaccine work this morning at 8am AEDT.

Nurses speak to people waiting in line at a testing station on High St, Auckland, near the A-Z Collection store where a worker has tested positive for COVID-19.Credit:Getty Images

Passengers landing in Sydney from New Zealand on Friday night were also informed, but none reported having attended any of the venues or had symptoms.

Airlines will not allow passengers to leave New Zealand in the future if they have attended any of these venues.

New Zealand's COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said the new virus sample, from a female student based in Auckland, had now been directly, genomically linked to that of a Defence Force staff member who had spent time near where the woman worked.

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As busy as Bourke Street: Push for CBD recovery gathers pace

Ten major employers have vowed to return at least 70 per cent of their workforces to CBD office towers as part of a push to reinvigorate the ailing city centre, as traffic data shows road congestion across Melbourne has returned almost to normal.

The growing commitment to return to city workplaces came as Melbourne hit the major milestone of no new coronavirus cases for 14 consecutive days, and as pedestrian traffic and public transport use rose in the fortnight since lockdown ended.

A new normal: Crowds are slowly returning to the CBD.Credit:Joe Armao

While new data shows road use and congestion at 89 per cent of pre-COVID levels, public transport patronage is at just 30 per cent of normal, suggesting a lack of trust in trains, trams and buses.

Major organisations including NAB, ANZ, Metro Trains, PwC and Telstra have signed up to a City of Melbourne "CEO pledge", vowing that as soon as public health restrictions are relaxed, they will bring at least 70 per cent of their workforce back to the CBD.

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As US coronavirus cases shatter all records, officials resist restrictions

With the coronavirus coming back with a vengeance and the US facing a long, dark winter, governors and other elected officials are showing little appetite for imposing the kind of lockdowns and large-scale business closings seen earlier in the year.

Many also continue to resist issuing state-wide mask rules.

Among the reasons given: public fatigue, fear of doing more damage to already crippled businesses, lack of support from Washington, and the way efforts to tame the virus have become ferociously politicised.

A medical worker at a COVID-19 mobile testing site in the Brooklyn borough of New York.Credit:AP

"I think that governors and mayors are, again, are in a really tough spot. The American population is emotionally and economically exhausted," said Dr Megan Ranney, an emergency physician and professor at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

"I think that there are some minimum things that governors and mayors could and should be doing right now. But the trouble is, without support from the federal government, it becomes very difficult to do these things," Ranney said, citing the need for a stimulus package from Washington to help businesses pull through.

Increasingly alarmed public health officials and medical experts say time is running out as hospitals buckle under the crush of cases and Americans approach Thanksgiving, a period of heavy travel and family gatherings that are all but certain to fuel the spread of the virus.

The coronavirus is blamed for 10.6 million confirmed infections and almost a quarter of a million deaths in the US, with the closely watched University of Washington model projecting nearly 439,000 dead by March 1. Deaths have climbed to about 1000 a day on average.

New cases per day are soaring, shattering records over and over and reaching an all-time high on Thursday of more than 153,000.


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Good morning all

G'day everyone! It's Roy Ward here and for the second last time I will be taking you through the day for our COVID-19 live blog.

In case you missed the announcement last night, we will be ending the COVID-19 live blogs after tomorrow although our COVID-19 newsletter will continue for some time yet, as will our detailed coverage on the pandemic.

There continues to be a lot going on as Australians further adjust to a COVID-normal way of life while sadly the US and Europe continue to grapple with an ever-growing winter wave of cases.

Please feel free to leave a comment on the blog or shoot me a tweet at @rpjward on Twitter.

Enjoy the day to come.

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