Victoria has recorded its first coronavirus deaths, with three people succumbing to the virus in less than 24 hours.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton confirmed the overnight deaths of two men in their 70s, while Health Minister Jenny Mikakos confirmed the third death on Thursday afternoon.
“All died in a Melbourne hospital and, of course, I am urging everyone to respect the privacy of the families during this difficult time,” Ms Mikakos told reporters.
“We all have a role to play in the fight against coronavirus and this means we must all take very seriously the message that we must stay home unless it is absolutely essential to leave your home, you must stay at home at every opportunity.”
Australia’s death toll from the coronavirus currently stands at 12.
Victoria’s total number of confirmed cases has also risen to 520.
The number of new cases has decreased slightly, but Professor Sutton said that does not mean the community can become complacent.
Professor Sutton also said he had provided “frank and vigorous advice” to Premier Daniel Andrews and the state government about going hard on shutting down parts of the community to curb the spread of the virus.
Second Queensland death
Earlier, Garry Kirstenfield, 68, from Toowoomba, died after receiving treatment in an intensive care unit.
Mr Kirstenfield, whose family described him as “kind and adorable”, is believed to have contracted COVID-19 on board a Royal Caribbean cruise ship that docked in Sydney last week.
Queensland Health said the man “had a serious underlying medical condition before contracting the virus”.
It reports that Mr Kirstenfield’s wife is in self-isolation, together with the rest of his immediate family.
He is the second Queenslander to have died after a 77-year-old woman died on March 15 from the virus in Sydney after a flight from the Sunshine Coast.
The latest data shows Australia has 2736 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Queensland has a total of 493 cases, less than half that of New South Wales’ 1219.
Western Australia has 205 cases, South Australia (197), the ACT (53), Tasmania (42) Northern Territory (seven) account for the remainder.