Australian coronavirus death toll rises to seven (Report)

Australian coronavirus death toll rises to seven (Report)
Australian coronavirus death toll rises to seven (Report)

Australia’s coronavirus toll has risen to seven, with the death of an 81-year-old woman in Sydney.

NSW Health authorities said the woman, who had had close contact with a confirmed coronavirus case linked to Ryde Hospital, died late on Thursday.

Her death brought the NSW toll to six. The other fatality is a man who died in Western Australia early in March – he was Australia’s first COVID-19 death.

Meanwhile, an Australian tourist in his 30s who died in hospital in Iceland had also tested positive to the virus.

The man, whose name has not been released, reportedly died shortly after arriving at a hospital in northern Iceland. The country’s chief epidemiologist, Porolfur Guonason, said despite the positive test, COVID-19 was not thought to have caused the tourist’s death.

The man’s wife, who was travelling with him, has also tested positive for coronavirus and is in isolation.

Australia has more than 700 confirmed coronavirus cases.

On Friday, NSW’s confirmed cases jumped to 382. That is up 75 on Thursday – in the biggest increase yet seen in the outbreak. Six people are in intensive care.

“It’s obviously quite a substantial increase,” NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said.

“Again, it’s indicative of the growing issue that faces the entire world.”

It came as three people on a cruise ship that returned to Sydney from New Zealand on Thursday tested positive to coronavirus – prompting pleas for all 3800 people on board to go into self-isolation for a fortnight.

An additional passenger from the Princess Cruises-operated Ruby Princess is also very unwell in Tasmania and is reported to have been confirmed with COVID-19.

The ship was carrying 1100 crew and 2700 passengers.

Doctors tested 13 unwell patients for COVID-19. Three, including a crew member, were found to have the virus.

“One of those passengers was not at all well, and was taken off the ship and has been taken to a hospital here in Sydney, and is being cared for,” NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said on Friday.

“That particular passenger, now patient, is not particularly well.”

Mr Hazzard said it was possible that other people on board also had coronavirus, and all people on board now needed to self-isolate for 14 days.

“Self-isolate in your home or your normal place of residence, or whenever you may be, and start taking very serious note of your own health,” he said.

“If you start to show any of the symptoms … we want you to make sure you report that in, and take due medical advice.”

There was a similar situation in Melbourne on Thursday, where passengers and crew were barred from leaving the Golden Princess after it docked early in the morning. Family and friends waited hours for clean bills of health to be given before more than 2000 passengers were allowed to disembark late in the afternoon.

Elsewhere, St Columba Anglican School in Port Macquarie, on the NSW mid-north coast, was closed on Friday after a member of its community tested positive for the virus.

More than 40,000 people in NSW have been tested for COVID-19.

In Adelaide, a year eight student at Unley High School has tested positive for COVID-19.

The school told parents in a letter the student had been identified as a close contact of a staff member confirmed to have the virus last week.

Also on Friday, the Northern Territory confirmed its second case of COVID-19.

Health authorities said a a Territorian in his mid-30s, who had returned home from Europe on March 19, had been tested at the pandemic clinic in Darwin after experiencing flu-like symptoms. His positive result was confirmed early on Friday.

In Western Australia, a woman in her 60s is in a critical but stable condition in St John of God Hospital after contracting coronavirus.

A spokesperson for the hospital said her condition became critical late yesterday.

WA has had 52 confirmed cases of coronavirus so far. Victoria had 178 as of Friday afternoon.

The ACT has six confirmed patients. Two were confirmed on Friday afternoon, including in a person who contracted the virus in the US and had since returned home.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has urged Australians to keep following social distancing and hygiene rules to try to slow the outbreak.

“If we control the spread and keep the numbers very low as to who is actually needing to go into intensive care – and at the moment it’s only a handful of people who are in hospital because of this illness – that’s where we want to keep it,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian told the Nine Network on Friday.

“We are not on top of it – and nobody is – but we are still at a stage where we’re managing it and we don’t want to lose control and that’s why it’s important to socially distance.”

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