A remote area of Australia has become the first in the country to relax coronavirus lockdown – and locals are being told to celebrate by heading to the pub.
The Northern Territory has recorded no new cases of COVID-19 for three weeks and is set to detail plans to restart the local economy.
Social gathering limitations for non-contact sport, weddings and funerals will be halted on Friday, restrictions on restaurants and pubs will be eased mid-May and all remaining restrictions are to be removed on 5 June.
To celebrate the return to some form of normality, chief minister Michael Gunner told reporters: "May 15 date night, June 5 Sunday sesh (pub session).”
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The proposal is possibly not surprising as the territory has the highest alcohol consumption per person in Australia.
Australia has 6,746 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with just 90 deaths across the whole country – a case-fatality rate of just over 1%, compared to 13.5% for the UK.
Everyone with cold or flu symptoms have been offered free COVID-19 testing in capital Canberra for the past week and the government said that offer will be extended for another week.
One in 49 of the territory's population had been tested by Thursday.
According to figures published by the Australian government, who closed the country’s borders early on in the crisis, the majority of coronavirus cases in the country are from people who contracted the illness overseas – meaning community transmission in relatively low.
Boris Johnson is expected to outline a path out of lockdown for the UK, where deaths from coronavirus increased to 26,097 on Wednesday.