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Informer: The man from WHO nails it

World Health Organsation's Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
World Health Organsation's Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

He mightn't mean too much to Victorians but the World Health Organsation's Director-General has hit the nail on the head.

"Eight months into the pandemic, we understand that people are tired and yearn to get on with their lives. We understand that countries want to get their societies and economies going again," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in an overnight address.

"That's what WHO wants, too. Stay-at-home orders and other restrictions are something that some countries felt they needed to do to take pressure off their health systems. But they have taken a heavy toll on livelihoods, economies and mental health."

Those words will resonate the world over - to greater and lesser degrees, no doubt depending on prevailing pre-COVID economic and health conditions.

Friday's national cabinet meeting looms as a major showdown on interstate travel restrictions. It is reported Prime Minister Scott Morrison be looking for leaders to agree on what defines a coronavirus hotspot, and that, along with the advice of an expert medical panel, would guide the way forward on border closures.

Mr Morrison said the Victorian and NSW premiers didn't want hard borders in place any longer than the health situation required.

"We cannot resign Australia to being a dislocated nation under COVID-19," he told parliament. "There are borders that are in place now and that is understandable.

"But what we have to work to do is to let Australians know that, by Christmas, they will be able to come together."

Today NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed a 50-kilometre border zone will be implemented from Friday. Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said the changes were welcomed: "They are sensible steps that will allow our border communities to go about their daily lives with fewer restrictions."

Victoria has recorded 70 new coronavirus cases and five deaths on Tuesday and Premier Daniel Andrews explained that regional centres will have a different path out of restrictions to metropolitan Melbourne.

NSW has recorded 13 new coronavirus cases, including seven linked to the CBD cluster and three additional students at a western Sydney high school.

The Queensland government announced it will keep state borders shut for least a month amid continuing concern about community transmission of COVID-19 in southern states.

In other COVID-related news, JobKeeper wage subsidies will be split into a two-tiered system and extended for another six months while one of the largest events on the Australian music calendar - the Tamworth Country Music Festival - won't go ahead as normal.

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