NSW COVID-19 Death Toll Hits 6, Cases Top 380 Amid Concerns About Cruise Ship

March 20, 2020COVID-19
NSW COVID-19 Death Toll Hits 6, Cases Top 380 Amid Concerns About Cruise Ship
The Ruby Princess docks at the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Sydney, Australia, on Feb. 8, 2020. (Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

A sixth person in Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales (NSW) and seventh across Australia has died after contracting COVID-19 while the number of cases in the state has surpassed 380.

The number of COVID-19 cases in NSW has increased by a “substantial” 75 people to reach more than 380, the state’s health minister says.

Brad Hazzard on Friday said there had been an extra 75 cases in the 24 hours to 11 a.m. taking the total to 382.

“It’s obviously quite a substantial increase and, again, it’s indicative of the growing issue that faces the entire world,” the minister told reporters in Sydney.

Hazzard also announced that testing had confirmed some passengers and crew on the Ruby Princess—which disembarked in Sydney on Thursday—had since tested positive to coronavirus.

Passengers were told to self-isolate as they came off the cruise ship and have since been contacted again by NSW Health.

Earlier on Friday, it was announced an 81-year-old NSW woman had died after contracting coronavirus bringing the state’s death toll to six and seven across Australia.

The woman died on Thursday night after close contact with a confirmed case linked to Ryde Hospital.

An 86-year-old man previously confirmed to have COVID-19 died in a Sydney hospital on Tuesday night.

Another resident of BaptistCare’s Dorothy Henderson Lodge in Macquarie Park—a 73-year-old woman—has also come down with COVID-19.

Three of the facility’s residents have died to date after contracting coronavirus.

NSW Health has said six people are in intensive care in NSW.

A school on the NSW mid-north coast, meanwhile, has closed after a member of the school community tested positive for the virus.

St Columba Anglican School in Port Macquarie received the news on Thursday afternoon and will close on Friday.

The NSW chief health officer, meanwhile, is reassured that many of the state’s coronavirus cases remain mild in nature.

NSW chief health officer Dr. Kerry Chant said the initial precautionary approach of hospitalising all confirmed COVID-19 cases had been abandoned as cases rise.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian again implored people to adhere to social distancing measures in order to limit the speed of the virus’ spread.

More than 40,000 people have been tested for COVID-19.

“What we want to make sure is if we control the spread and keep the numbers very low as to who is actually needing to go into intensive care—and at the moment it’s only a handful of people who are in hospital because of this illness—that’s where we want to keep it,” Berejiklian told the Nine Network on Friday.

“We are not on top of it and nobody is, but we are still at a stage where we’re managing it and we don’t want to lose control and that’s why it’s important to socially distance.”

NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes has also overridden regulations preventing 24-hour deliveries of stock to supermarkets amid panic-buying.

Coles chief operations officer Matthew Swindells on Friday said the supermarket had sold three Christmases worth of stock in the past three weeks alone.

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