Australia's coronavirus death toll rises to 12

 

The death toll from coronavirus in Australia has risen to 12.

Victorian health minister Jenny Mikakos said a man in his 70s died in a Melbourne hospital.

This follows the deaths of two other men in their 70s in Melbourne overnight.

"I am urging everyone to respect the privacy of the families during this difficult time,' Ms Mikakos said.

It comes after a 68-year-old Queensland man died at Toowoomba Hospital yesterday afternoon after catching the virus on board the Ruby Princess cruise ship that docked in Sydney last week.

Australia now has more than 2700 coronavirus cases.

 

Total confirmed cases, based on a tally of numbers provided by each state and territory, stand at 2737.

As of Thursday morning there were 1219 in NSW, 520 in Victoria, 493 in Queensland, 197 in South Australia, 205 in Western Australia, 42 in Tasmania, 53 in the Australian Capital Territory and eight in the Northern Territory.

Twelve people have died - one in Queensland, one in Western Australia, seven in NSW and three in Victoria.

In NSW, there are currently 16 COVID-19 cases in Intensive Care Units and of those cases 10 require ventilators at this stage.

Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos yesterday said two people, one in their 30s and one in their 60s, were in intensive care, noting she was not in the habit of releasing patient's ages but did so in this case "just to stress that COVID-19 is not an elderly person's disease".

"We have had many people overseas in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s ending up in ICU beds because of their diagnosis of COVID-19," she said. She wished the two patients "a speedy recovery but this does make the point that this virus can strike down quite young people as well".

Australia's deputy chief health officer Paul Kelly said the person in their 30s being in intensive care was a "wake up call".

"This is a wake-up call. No-one is immune to this. Many of us will get sick from it. Some of us will get severely sick and end up in hospital. Some will need to be in intensive care. And some of us, as we've seen already, unfortunately, will pass away from this disease.

State and territory leaders have beefed up police enforcement to crack down on returning travellers to ensure they are self-isolating.

"Victoria Police has a 500-strong squad and they're not mucking about," Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said yesterday.

"They're out there checking on thousands and thousands of people who have returned from overseas. If you're doing the wrong thing, you will be caught. We're using technology, we are doing everything we can and I thank every one of those Victoria Police members, I thank everyone across the team - health workers, people working at DHHS, doing the thousands and thousands of phone calls to do all that contact-tracing, everyone is stepping up."

He added, "Victorians need to step up, too. Follow the rules, follow the advice, do the right thing or people will die. I can't put it anymore more simply and plainly than that."

 

DEATH TOLL

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.

The eighth death was a woman in her 70s who was rushed to hospital after disembarking the Ruby Princess cruise ship in Sydney on March 14. She died in hospital on Tuesday morning, March 24.

The ninth death was another Ruby Princess passenger. The 68-year-old Queensland man died in the afternoon on Wednesday, March 25, in intensive care at Toowoomba Hospital after returning from Sydney.

Two men in their 70s died in hospital in Victoria that same night, marking the state's first deaths and the country's tenth and eleventh.

 

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.



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