Australian COVID-19 death toll rises to 11 as Victoria reports first fatalities


Updated

March 26, 2020 09:22:55

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton has revealed that two men being treated for COVID-19 died overnight, becoming the state’s first coronavirus fatalities and bringing the national total to 11.

Key points:

  • Victoria’s total confirmed coronavirus cases has risen to 520
  • The number of new cases declined for two days in a row
  • Professor Sutton warned Victorians not to be complacent and more cases would be reported “if we don’t stay away from each other”

Professor Sutton told radio station 3AW that “tragically” two men in their 70s had died overnight.

“They’re our first deaths,” he said.

“But in a sense they’re not unexpected. We’re now up to 520 cases, so two deaths amongst 500 is relatively small looking at the global figures.”

Professor Sutton said 54 new cases had tested positive to the virus in the past day.

He said the number of new confirmed cases had declined for the past two days in Victoria.

“That wasn’t entirely unexpected,” Professor Sutton said.

“I think I said [previously] the numbers of travellers returning has fallen away very sharply and because a lot of our cases were imported cases from travellers, that this might happen.

“But we shouldn’t be complacent.

“There will be a number of their contacts and potentially other community transmission cases that will grow over time if we don’t stay away from each other.”

Your questions on coronavirus answered:

The National Cabinet agreed earlier this week to implement “stage two” shutdown restrictions.

Yesterday, Premier Daniel Andrews said Victoria may implement a shutdown before the rest of the country.

Professor Sutton said he still believed fuller measures to contain the virus were needed.

“I’m known to be one to go earlier and more broadly, but everybody recognises that’s very difficult,” he said.

“It challenges our economy. It challenges people’s individuals lives.

“I would more strongly make the argument that we need to be ahead of it and not get to a point where if we do step up, and if it is inevitable, that we are not doing it too late.

“It is more powerful to make those social distancing measures now to change the trajectory of this epidemic.”

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First posted

March 26, 2020 08:22:59



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