news.com.au 16 Mar 20


Another 37 people in NSW have tested positive to the coronavirus, including six guests at the same wedding, bringing the total number of infections to 171.

It is the highest increase in new cases in the state in a single day.

Key points:

  • Among 37 new cases are six people who attended a wedding at Stanwell Tops in the Illawarra region on March 6
  • Health authorities are encouraging only those who have returned from overseas and have symptoms to get tested
  • Police have the power to force people to comply with self-isolation rules, with fines of up to $11,000 for individuals

 

The Health Minister Brad Hazzard said it was likely there would be an exponential increase in coronavirus cases in the next few weeks.

Since 11am yesterday there have been another 37 cases of Covid-19 diagnosed in NSW, bringing the state-wide total to 171 cases since the outbreak started.

Nationally the total stands at 368. Yesterday the total across Australia was 298.

 

 

A second round of financial stimulus is being fast-tracked as the coronavirus crisis roils financial markets and batters the economy.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is reportedly locked in emergency meetings with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann hammering out the details.

It comes only days after the government unveiled a $17.6 billion package, including individual cash payments of $750 to around 6.5 million Australians.

Victoria has declared a state of emergency after 14 new virus cases were confirmed overnight, bringing the national tally to 350 as the death toll rises to five.

Mr Morrison is facing growing pressure to close schools and universities after announcing new measures to slow the spread of the disease on Sunday, including mandatory 14-day self isolation for all international travellers entering the country.

People who breach the new rules face fines of up to $13,000 and jail time.

RELATED: Follow more coronavirus updates here

Non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people have been banned but Mr Morrison said shutting schools would do more harm than good.

There are now 368 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across Australia.

Of those, 171 are in NSW, 71 in Victoria, 68 in Queensland, 20 in SA, 28 in WA, seven in Tasmania, one in the NT and two in the ACT.

Six people have died – one in WA, three in NSW and two in Queensland.

Follow our live, rolling coverage of the coronavirus pandemic below.

Live Updates

Louis Vuitton makes hand sanitiser for public

Gavin Fernando

Luxury brand LVMH is converting its perfume and cosmetics factories to instead produce hand sanitizer during the coronavirus outbreak.

The French-based company said it hoped to begin making hydroalcoholic gel from today, after coronavirus fears left stores worldwide cleared of the item.

“Through this initiative, LVMH intends to help address the risk of a lack of product in France and enable a greater number of people to continue to take the right action to protect themselves from the spread of the virus,” the company said in a statement.

Sydney man with COVID-19 urges calm

Gavin Fernando

A Sydney man who tested positive to coronavirus after returning home from Italy last week has urged Australians to stay calm as the outbreak continues to spread.

Cade Turland, 32, who caught one of the last flights out of Milan last Tuesday, took to Instagram to answer people’s questions about having the virus.

He urged Australians to self-isolate, even if they’re only feeling a little bit under-the-weather.

“It’s just two weeks. Go fix some stuff in the house, send some emails, start that book you’ve always wanted to write – whatever. Take some personal responsibility,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

Telcos offer extra data, unlimited calls to customers

Gavin Fernando

Telstra, Vodafone and Optus are offering bonus data, unlimited calls and other perks to Australians in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Telstra is giving broadband customers unlimited data and pensioners unlimited home phone calls as part of its response to COVID-19.

The unlimited data, which is on offer until April 30, will reach consumers and small businesses with ADSL, NBN or cable connections from Thursday.

This also includes an extra 2GB of data for post-paid customers to use within 30 days, while pre-paid customers with an active recharge of $40+ can get 10GB of additional data to use in Australia within 28-30 days.

Eligible pensioners with a Telstra home phone plan will be able to make unlimited local, national and 13/1300 calls, and calls to Australian mobiles, from their home phone from Thursday until April 30.

Vodafone is similarly offering customers bonus data and unlimited national calls.

Last week Optus said it would provide customers with additional data for the month of April. Postpaid customers would receive a one-off 20GB of data, with prepaid customers paying $40 or more to get 10GB extra.

Sydney Writers’ Festival cancelled

Gavin Fernando

The Sydney Writers’ Festival is the latest event to be cancelled amid growing coronavirus fears.

“This is an unprecedented, deeply upsetting and challenging time for everyone, but the health and safety of writers, audiences, staff, publishers, volunteers and our community must come first,” Festival artistic director Michaela McGuire said.

The event had been due to run from April 27 to May 3.

Queensland police suspend RBTs

Gavin Fernando

The Queensland Police Service (QPS) has suspended static roadside breath and drug tests to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, effective immediately.

“The decision has been made to minimise health risks to QPS officers and the community,” Qld Police said in a statement.

“Road safety continues to be a significant priority for the QPS. The QPS will continue to undertake random breath and drug testing through high visibility mobile patrols.

“The QPS is constantly conducting risk assessments and considering health advice to ensure officer and community safety as the COVID-19 situation unfolds.”

Vic RSL cancels ANZAC services

Gavin Fernando

ANZAC Day services have been cancelled or reduced following an emergency meeting amid rising COVID-19 concerns.

The ANZAC Day Commemorative Committee and RSL Victoria have agreed to a single Dawn Service at the Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance, which the public will not be permitted to attend.

The ANZAC Day march through Melbourne’s CBD and midday service at the Shrine of Remembrance has been cancelled.

RSL Sub-Branches across Victoria will also be asked to conduct a single ANZAC Day commemorative service only. The public will also be asked not to attend these services.

RSL Victoria State President, Dr Robert Webster OAM, said safety must take priority.

“ANZAC Day 2020 will not look like the ANZAC Day that so many of us are used to participating in. But there will be a service, wreaths will be laid, the last post will still be played, a minutes silience in memory of the fallen will be held but the public will be asked to stay at home. This is not a decision that the RSL takes lightly, but public health and safety must be our priority,” he said.

Queensland senator contracts virus

Gavin Fernando

Queensland LNP senator Susan McDonald has contracted COVID-19, making her the second Australian politician to get it.

“On Friday evening I began feeling unwell with a sore throat and a mild temperature, so I went to the Townsville Base Hospital Emergency Department to be tested for coronavirus before returning home, where I have been in self-isolation since that time,” she said.

“Unfortunately the test has today come back positive and I have now been admitted to hospital, where I will remain under the direction of Queensland Health.”

The Senator did not specify where she believes she got the virus from.

WA sees huge jump in cases

Gavin Fernando

Western Australia has seen its biggest jump in cases today to date, with 10 new cases revealed over the past 24 hours.

This takes the total number of positive diagnoses in the state to 28.

Among the new cases are two healthcare workers.

All of the new cases are residents from the Perth metropolitan region, with two sets of married couples among them.

One of the cases is said to have recently returned to Perth from Hawaii.

Over 6000 people have been tested across the state.

Aussie singer-songwriter contracts virus

Gavin Fernando

Thelma Plumbe, an ARIA-winning singer-songwriter from Brisbane, has tested positive for COVID-19.

The 25-year-old is currently receiving treatment in a Brisbane hospital.

Taking to Instagram, the musician urged fans to skip gigs and “practice social distancing”.

Seven new Queensland cases and another death

Benjamin Graham

Queensland Health says the state has seven new cases of the coronavirus and a 77-year-old woman has died.

This takes the state total to 68 which includes 3 passengers from the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship.

The new cases are aged between 22 and 77. Six of them are from Brisbane.

A 77-year-old woman has died on the Sunshine Coast.