Australia’s COVID-19 Death Toll is Now 20, Virus Expected to Peak in Coming Months

March 31, 2020COVID-19
Australia’s COVID-19 Death Toll is Now 20, Virus Expected to Peak in Coming Months
Travellers walk towards waiting buses at Sydney Airport in Sydney, Australia on March 30, 2020. (Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is calling on businesses to help plug crucial health equipment shortages as the state’s CCP virus death toll rises to nine—a 95-year-old woman has become the ninth COVID-19 death in the state, bringing the national death toll to 20.

More than 4500 cases of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus—commonly known as novel coronavirus—have so far been detected across Australia and the number of confirmed infections in NSW has grown to 2182.

NSW Health confirmed a 95-year-old woman from the Dorothy Henderson Lodge in Macquarie Park had died, the fifth person from that nursing home to die after contracting COVID-19.

There have been 150 new CCP virus cases recorded in NSW overnight.

Berejiklian on Wednesday morning urged businesses to re-direct their efforts towards the battle against CCP virus.

“I’m calling on the great people of our state, those great business people, those manufacturers who are able to re-tool, to help supply the additional things we need in coming months,” she told reporters. “Whether it’s sanitisers, medical equipment or a whole host of other things which our hospitals will rely on in the coming months.”

Police are trying to soothe concerns about the enforcement of new CCP virus self-isolation measures.

Gatherings of more than two people—apart from immediate family—are banned in NSW and police have powers to fine those flouting the rules.

NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller says officers will take a common-sense approach.

“I know there has been criticism of police, which I don’t accept. We haven’t issued one infringement of the new powers at this stage,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “If you need medical assistance, pharmacies, doctors, the hospital—you can leave. If you need food, can you leave.

“If you are driving home and you need a take-away coffee, nothing wrong with jumping out the car and a coffee, just don’t sit down and have it there.”

A pop-up COVID-19 testing clinic will be established in Bondi to help reduce the spread of the CCP virus after clusters developed within Sydney’s backpacker community.

NSW Health is directing doctors in Sydney’s Waverley Council area, which includes suburbs such as Bondi, to send more patients for COVID-19 testing.

Virus Expected to Peak in Coming Months

Australia’s coronavirus co-ordinator Neville Power is preparing for infection rates among the community to peak in the coming months.

He says once the virus peak eventually passes, his commission will turn its attention to rebuilding the decimated national economy.

“But when exactly that is, I think it is very difficult to tell,” he told Nine on Wednesday. Power said the organisation was keeping an open mind on how long the recovery would take.

The daily infection rate has slowed to nine percent over the past three days, down from a high of 25 to 30 percent.

In the meantime, more beds and staff will be available to care for Australians infected by COVID-19 after the federal government struck a deal with private hospitals. The $1.3 billion deal with 657 private hospitals will provide an extra 34,000 beds and more than 100,000 staff.

Efforts are underway to double the number of ventilated intensive care beds to 4400, as part of an overall target of 7500. At the same time, Australian manufacturers have intensified their efforts to shore up medical supplies including surgical masks and hand sanitiser.

The federal government’s $130 billion JobKeeper package has attracted almost 300,000 business subsidy registrations in the first two days.

The package will provide businesses with a $1500 fortnightly wage subsidy to be distributed to each employee.

Two customs officers—one from NSW and one from Queensland—are among those who have tested positive.

Epoch Times staff contributed to this report.

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