Coronavirus LIVE updates: Victoria chases lower case numbers, Andrews request denied, Australia’s death toll reaches 844

Risk of transmission 20 times higher indoors: Victorian CHO

Melburnians visiting each other in their homes has become a key concern of health authorities as the risk of transmission is 20 times higher when people are indoors together, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton says.

Victoria recorded 21 new COVID-19 infections in the last day. Seven people have died from the virus, including a man aged in his 60s, three men in their 80s and one man and two women in their 90s, bringing Victoria's death toll to 757.

Louise Lally, with husband Ben, said her Byron Bay property was at 90 per cent occupancy this month – compared to 54 per cent for the same time last year.Credit:Danielle Smith

David Jones, the president of industry association Destination Byron, said tourists were flocking to regional towns thanks to the border closures imposed by state premiers such as Queensland's Annastacia Palaszczuk.

"The border closures to Victoria and Queensland are proving a boon for regional NSW destinations," he said.

Coffs Harbour and the Southern Highlands are also popular destinations, with just 4 per cent of properties still available, followed by Yamba (5 per cent), Jervis Bay (7 per cent) and Port Macquarie (13 per cent).

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'Astounding' expenditure looms in recession-busting federal budget

The Morrison government is preparing to unleash an "astounding" amount of spending in next month's budget to drag the country out of its first recession in 29 years with the nation unable to rely on ultra-low interest rates to boost the economy.

Longer-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country's finances are also crystallising, with the government's Centre for Population forecasting the fertility rate to drop well below the level used in budget assumptions.

As the government announces an extra $305.6 million to primarily help families and childcare providers across Victoria, The Sun-Herald and The Sunday Age can reveal senior ministers are preparing an avalanche of spending that will push the budget deficit to an unprecedented level.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is preparing a budget that will contain an “astounding” amount of expenditure to get the economy out of recession.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

A deficit well beyond $200 billion is now expected, dwarfing the previous record of $54.5 billion set by the Rudd government during the depths of the global financial crisis in 2009-10.

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Bureaucrat denied Andrews' request for infected travellers to quarantine away from CBD

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews wanted returning travellers infected with COVID-19 in April to stay at a quarantine hotel near Melbourne airport, not in the CBD.

But 80 infected travellers from a cruise ship were nonetheless sent to the ill-fated Rydges on Swanston hotel on the edge of the CBD after a Victorian health department executive deemed it too "risky" to try to fulfil the Premier's request at short notice.

Internal emails reveal Premier Daniel Andrews did not want infected travellers at a CBD hotel such as the Rydges on Swanston in April.Credit:Eddie Jim

The Rydges on Swanston consequently became Melbourne's main "hot" hotel that hosted positive cases from other quarantine hotels. Six weeks later, infections among staff and security guards sparked the large majority of Victoria's second wave of coronavirus.

Internal emails between Victoria's most senior health officials including Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton reveal that Mr Andrews asked for travellers from the Greg Mortimer cruise ship flying to Melbourne from Uruguay on April 12 to stay near the airport.

Instead, Melissa Skilbeck, then Professor Sutton's boss as deputy secretary of the health department, said one hotel had already agreed to take infected guests – the Rydges on Swanston.

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Good morning all!

G'day everyone! It's Roy Ward here and I'll be tapping the keys for today's live blog.

I hope you are all travelling along well as we await today's numbers in Victoria and watch with interest as the battle with the virus continues both here and abroad.

As always you can leave a comment on the blog or shoot me a tweet directly at @rpjward on Twitter.

Please have a lovely day and enjoy the stories to come.

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