A sixth Australian has now died from coronavirus.
“NSW Health can confirm a fifth death in NSW from COVID-19,” NSW Health said in a statement just before 2pm.
“An 86-year-old man previously notified with COVID-19 died last night in a Sydney hospital. Our condolences are with his family and friends at this time.”
There have now been five deaths in NSW and one in Western Australia.
The news comes as cases in NSW have jumped to almost 270 – the state’s largest increase in cases over a single day – as it implements a series of unprecedented measures to contain the rapidly spreading disease.
Health authorities on Wednesday admitted the number of COVID-19 cases with no known source of transmission was increasing.
NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant told reporters there were 269 confirmed coronavirus cases in the state up from 210 on Tuesday. More than 25,000 tests have been conducted.
The increase has brought the national total to more than 530.
— NSW Health (@NSWHealth) March 18, 2020
Dr Chant attributes the rise to an influx of Australians returning from overseas as citizens around the world are implored to return to their home countries.
Prominent sporting fixtures, Anzac Day services and music festivals are among the major events either cancelled or postponed due to Australia’s coronavirus outbreak, with Bunnings’ sausage sizzle the latest to fall foul of the global pandemic.
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The number of Victorians infected has now hit 121, with 27 cases diagnosed overnight.
The increase – the state’s biggest jump since the crisis began – has prompted a call to ban children from aged-care facilities and calls for more extreme social distancing.
Premier Daniel Andrews has reiterated his support for for the ban on non-essential public events involving over 500 people and is looking to introduce a new set of measures for indoor gatherings.
“To ignore that ban means you face the very real prospect, if you’re a company of $100,000 fine, if you’re an individual, a $20,000 fine. That is how serious this issue is,” Mr Andrews said.
Public schools would not be closed for the time being, although Mr Andrews acknowledged “there will be a time when schools will be significantly disrupted, some already have been where there has been individual cases.”
Premier Steven Marshall says incorrect information about the situation in South Australia was starting to undermine crucial public health messaging.
“There is no state lockdown, there is no CBD lockdown, this is wrong and it’s unhelpful and it’s completely and utterly ludicrous,” Mr Marshall said.
The Premier said the continuing focus was on limiting the spread of the virus across the state where 32 cases had been confirmed so far.
But he said tougher restrictions on travel and gatherings in large groups were likely to remain in place for six months or more.
Tasmania won’t be closing its borders amid the coronavirus crisis, the Premier Peter Gutwein says.
There have been calls for the island state, which has recorded seven cases of infection, to implement tougher measures surrounding incoming travellers, including completely shutting its borders.
“We will not be stopping trade, we will not be closing our borders,” Mr Gutwein told reporters on Wednesday.
“The clothes we are wearing today, the food we ate for breakfast. These things come across our borders, they must continue to come across our borders.”
Mr Gutwein said he was taking further advice on whether to implement a 14-day self-isolation period for interstate travellers.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has echoed the words of the Prime Minister in calling for a halt to overseas travel.
Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles confirmed the state’s number of confirmed coronavirus cases has reached 94, a jump of 16 from Tuesday.
Ms Palaszczuk told Parliament on Wednesday she has never seen more co-operation between state, territory and federal governments than she has during the COVID-19 crisis.
“I repeat the words of the Prime Minister, do not go overseas,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
Schools will remain open despite the Premier telling Parliament this crisis was going to last for at least six months.
“The advice tells us this virus operates differently in children. We cannot disrupt schools for what would be six months,” she said.
Premier Mark McGowan has urged West Australians to cancel non-essential interstate travel, but has stopped short of arguing for borders to close.
“Please don’t engage in non-essential travel,” he said. “If you don’t need to go interstate, please don’t,” he said.
Health Minister Roger Cook has said there have been four new confirmed COVID-19 cases overnight, bringing the total up to 35.
“We’re still experiencing low numbers of confirmed cases, which is pleasing,” Mr Cook said.
Senior doctors yesterday advocated for the extension of travel restrictions for all personal interstate travel.
The ACT Government has confirmed a third case of coronavirus, as Canberrans drive up to an hour-and-a-half away to buy groceries.
The woman who tested positive to COVID-19 is aged in her 70s, and was admitted to Canberra Hospital last night.
It is believed she was infectious while on a Garuda Indonesia flight GA712 from Jakarta to Sydney, which landed on Saturday morning, March 14.
ACT Chief Health Officer Kerryn Coleman said she was working with the airline and coach service to find other people who might have been exposed.
Canberra remained in an “excellent position” generally to contain the disease, especially given the challenges facing other cities.
“We certainly don’t have community transition in the ACT at the moment,” she said.
The Northern Territory, which has recorded just one infection to date, has set aside a $60 million stimulus package to insulate against the economic impacts of the pandemic.