Huge spike in Aussie virus cases
The number of coronavirus cases in Australia is doubling every three to four days and the death toll stands at seven after an 81-year-old woman died in a Sydney hospital.
The total number of confirmed cases, based on a tally of numbers provided by health authorities in each state and territory, now stands at 877.
On Friday afternoon, New South Wales released a new tally of those infected - it takes the numbers in the state most affected by COVID-19 even higher. But its not the only state seeing a surge in numbers with cases in Queensland jumping by 40 and Victoria by 28.
Authorities had predicted these numbers were expected to rise as Australians returned from abroad. And that appears to be occurring with the Northern Territory's third case from a 21-year-old who flew home from Utah. She immediately went into isolation in Darwin.
All of Western Australia's 12 new cases are related to overseas travel. Four cases are currently in hospital, including a woman in critical condition.
Nationally, the numbers passed 400 on March 17 but by March 20 had more than doubled.
As of 11am on Friday, NSW alone had 382 confirmed coronavirus cases, Health Minister Brad Hazzard said.
That's up from 353 as of 8pm Thursday night.
"It's obviously quite a substantial increase. And, again, it's indicative of the growing issue that faces the entire world," Mr Hazzard told reporters in Sydney.
The NSW cases include another resident at the Dorothy Henderson Lodge where three people have already died, and a 14-year-old schoolgirl in Port Macquarie.
That comes after both Queensland and NSW reported their youngest confirmed COVID-19 cases yesterday, a one-year-old baby and a six-year-old child.
At least 43 have fully recovered.
There are 382 in New South Wales, 178 in Victoria, 184 in Queensland, 50 in South Australia, 64 in Western Australia, 10 in Tasmania, six in the Australian Capital Territory and three in the Northern Territory.
Seven people have died - one in Western Australia and six in New South Wales.
Australia's first coronavirus fatality was on Sunday, March 1.
He was a 78-year-old Perth man who was among 163 Australians evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan and quarantined at Howard Springs in the Northern Territory.
The second death came on Tuesday, March 3. The 95-year-old woman was a resident at the Dorothy Henderson Lodge in Macquarie Park, in Sydney's north.
Two other residents of the same nursing home later died - an 82-year-old man on Sunday, March 8, followed by a 90-year-old woman on Saturday, March 14.
On Friday, March 13, a 77-year-old woman died in a Sydney hospital after recently arriving from Queensland. She had developed symptoms on the plane, was taken to hospital and died the same day.
An 86-year-old man died in a Sydney hospital on Tuesday, March 17, making him the state's fifth death and the country's sixth.
On Thursday, March 19, an 81-year-old woman died in hospital, bringing the death toll to seven. NSW Health said she had close contact with another confirmed case at Ryde Hospital.
CORONAVIRUS IN AUSTRALIA
People in their 50s make up the greatest proportion of confirmed cases, followed by those in their 30s, 40s, 20s and 60s.
Far fewer people aged over 70 or under 20 have been diagnosed with the coronavirus.
Where authorities have been able to determine the source of the infection, three times as many cases came from overseas travel as local transmission. The US and Italy have now overtaken China as the most common source country.
The first case of COVID-19 was detected on January 25 in Victoria.
The patient was a man from Wuhan, Hubei province - where the Chinese virus emerged late last year - who flew to Melbourne from Guangdong on January 19.
Three more cases were detected the same day in NSW.
All three were men who had recently returned from China - two had been in Wuhan and one had direct contact with a confirmed case from the virus epicentre.
Since then, the number of cases has risen exponentially.
NSW quickly became ground zero for the Australian outbreak, and now makes up nearly half of all cases in the country.
Experts fear that if Australia follows the same trend as similar countries where infections have doubled around every six days, there could be as many as 6000 by early April.
Originally published as Huge spike in Aussie virus cases