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Australia reports 38 COVID-19 deaths as some states prepare to ease restrictions

A further 38 people have died with COVID-19 in Australia as some states roll back restrictions. 

New South Wales reported 15 COVID-19 related deaths on Friday, while 14 people in Victoria have died after contracting the virus. 

Queensland, meanwhile, has recorded nine fatalities.

In NSW, hospitalisations have fallen further to 1,381 and ICU admissions remain steady, with 92 people in intensive care.

The state recorded 9,243 new COVID-19 cases as a number of restrictions are rolled back earlier than expected across the state in time for the weekend.

Singing and dancing are back across most venues, the two-metre density limit for indoor venues has been scrapped, and QR check-ins are now only required for nightclubs and music festivals with more than 1,000 patrons.

The requirement to wear face masks will also cease in most settings next Friday.

Victoria’s hospital admissions rise

Victoria has recorded 14 deaths, while hospitalisations with the virus have grown by 50 in a single day, with 451 patients in hospital.

Of those, 64 patients are in ICU, with 16 requiring ventilation.

The state recorded 6,935 new infections, which included 4,329 from rapid antigen tests and 2,606 from PCR tests, the health department said on Friday.

Victoria is managing 48,852 total active cases, down from more than 50,000 on Thursday.

From 6pm on Friday, hospitality and entertainment venues density quotas will be scrapped, along with QR code check-in requirements for retail, schools and workplaces.

QR check-ins will still be required in pubs, bars, restaurants and entertainment premises to help ensure those attending are double-vaccinated.

What’s happening elsewhere?

Queensland has recorded 5,795 new cases.

There are 408 cases people in hospital, with 34 of those in ICU.

In the ACT, density limits across all businesses will be removed from 6pm on Friday, while dancing will also be allowed again.

Bans on eating or drinking at hospitality venues while standing have also been removed, while the government has indicated a return to the workplace can take place for employees where possible.

Ticketing and pre-registration requirements for events have also been scrapped.

It comes as the nation’s capital recorded 561 new COVID-19 cases on Friday.

Some 45 patients are in hospital with the virus, with two in ICU.

Tasmania winds back COVID-19 check-ins  

Tasmania reported 623 new infections, 57 fewer than the previous day’s tally. 

The number of people in hospital with the virus has also declined, with 11 patients in hospital down from 16 on Thursday.

Seven of those patients are being treated specifically for COVID-19, with the other four cases being treated for unrelated medical conditions.

The state is also winding back the use of QR code check-ins in most public places.

Premier Peter Gutwein told reporters that from 6pm Friday people would no longer need to check in at cafes, supermarkets, shopping centres, schools, hospitals and aged care homes.

But people would still have to use the codes at bars, pubs, clubs and the casino.

Mr Gutwein said the recent impact on the state’s healthcare system had been nowhere near as bad as expected.

“We’re getting on top of this and I think it’s really positive at the moment,” he said.

The state’s hotel quarantine system is also being wound back.