News Coronavirus Coronavirus: Three more cases confirmed in SA, as national tally hits 200

Coronavirus: Three more cases confirmed in SA, as national tally hits 200

Dr Nicola Spurrier said accessing flight manifests was taking too long. Photo: ABC News/Simon Christie
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Australia has now recorded 200 coronavirus cases after three more were confirmed in South Australia.

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall made the announcement this morning following an emergency state cabinet meeting.

The latest cases include a woman in her 30s who had travelled from the UK and a man in his 50s who had been in the US.

The third new case was a woman in her 80s who had both been overseas and in contact with another confirmed case.

South Australia has recorded a total of 19 cases, including a student at Sacred Heart College who tested positive yesterday.

“Six of the people who have been affected have already passed through this illness and have been discharged from hospital,” Mr Marshall said.

“We have 13 people who are currently isolated, most of those within our major hospitals.”

Mr Marshall attended yesterday’s COAG meeting, along with his interstate counterparts and Prime Minister Scott Morrison, during which it was decided mass gatherings of more than 500 people would be cancelled.

A national cabinet comprising state and federal leaders has also been established to coordinate responses to the spread of COVID-19.

“We’re asking people who are unwell not to come to work. We’re asking people to adopt and abide by this norm in terms of social distancing,” Mr Marshall said.

“We don’t want to be using finite resources to test the ‘worried well’.”

Mr Marshall said Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton – who was later diagnosed with coronavirus – was not at Friday’s COAG meeting.

“We certainly haven’t received any advice that we are in a cohort that should be tested,” Mr Marshall said.

The nation’s chief medical officer, Professor Brendan Murphy, today said he was at Tuesday’s cabinet meeting attended by Mr Dutton, but there was no need to place himself in quarantine.

“No member of cabinet was in contact with Minister Dutton within 24 hours of him becoming symptomatic, nor was I in fact in contact with him,” he said.

The number of cases globally has reached 145,000, and the World Health Organisation this week declared a pandemic.

“We have early evidence of community transmission, mostly in New South Wales but a little bit in other states. We have moved quite early to institute social distancing measures,” Professor Murphy said.

“We have made the decision early enough so that we can give people a few days’ notice to start on Monday, so we can have an orderly transition.”

South Australia’s chief public health officer Dr Nicola Spurrier said one “difficulty” had been in speedily accessing flight manifests to notify passengers who had been near those infected.

“We’ve been working with the other states to try and improve the speed with which we can get the manifests,” she said.

“The people we are really wanting to be able to contact very quickly are the people who are sitting two rows ahead and two rows behind and to the side.”

Meanwhile, in Hobart, passengers and crew on luxury cruise ship have been prevented from leaving the vessel while it is docked, in the latest reaction to the pandemic.

Swiss ship, the MSC Magnifica is on a world cruise and arrived at the Port of Hobart this morning, after travelling from New Zealand.

The cruise ship can carry up to 3000 passengers and almost 1000 staff and crew.

Fears of contagion have also led to the cancellation of New Zealand’s national remembrance service to mark a year since the Christchurch terror attack.

Thousands of people were expected to attend the Sunday service in Christchurch to mark the anniversary of the March 15 shooting.

New Zealand has had just six confirmed cases of COVID-19. All of those cases have been connected to people returning from abroad and so far there haven’t been signs of a local outbreak.

The most recent case, involving a man in his 60s who recently returned from the US, was announced by health officials Saturday.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the decision to cancel the service at Horncastle Arena, also announced Saturday, was pragmatic and precautionary.

“We’re very saddened to cancel, but in remembering such a terrible tragedy, we shouldn’t create the risk of further harm being done,” Ms Ardern said in a release.

The announcement came a day after Ardern had said at a news conference in Christchurch that the event would still go ahead.

-with agencies