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Coronavirus updates LIVE: Victoria implements stage three restrictions as Australia’s COVID-19 death toll hits 18

Deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly says the government’s social distancing measures are working, with a “stabilisation of the numbers” of new infections – but “this is not a time to take the foot off the brake”.

“We really need to redouble our efforts to work as a society to make sure we are doing everything we can to slow the spread of the virus,” Professor Kelly said.

“This is about saving lives and making sure that particularly our vulnerable members of our community, elderly people and those with other conditions including lung disease, heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases, are protected.”

Australia hit 18 deaths from COVID-19 on Monday, when the number of confirmed cases rose to 4093, with 55 patients in intensive care.

He said Australians weighing up whether to bring elderly relatives home to care for them faced “a very difficult question”, saying that for “the most frail, elderly people requiring, for example, a lot of home care … it may be best to shelter with relatives”.

But if other family members were going “out into the word … and interacting with others”, he said, they risked bringing the virus into the home and infecting their loved one.

“It is a trade-off and people have to examine their circumstances and the circumstance of their elderly relative to make that decision,” Professor Kelly said.

A woman in her 80s has died from coronavirus in the ACT, marking the first death in the territory.

She died on the weekend at Canberra Hospital, taking the national death toll to 18.

She acquired the disease overseas.

“My thoughts are with the family and friends of this person through such a difficult time,” the territory’s chief health officer Dr Kerryn Coleman said.

“This is the very reality of this disease, which is seeing the elderly at increased risk of complications from COVID-19.”

There are now 285 cases stemming from cruise ships in NSW, roughly one in seven of the 1918 cases in the state.

Passengers disembark the Ruby Princess on March 19. The ship has now been the source of 189 COVID-19 cases in NSW, and well over 100 interstate.

Passengers disembark the Ruby Princess on March 19. The ship has now been the source of 189 COVID-19 cases in NSW, and well over 100 interstate.Credit:Kate Geraghty

This figure includes 189 NSW cases from the Ruby Princess, which docked on March 19, 66 cases from the Ovation of the Seas, which docked on March 18, and 26 cases from the Voyager of the Seas which docked on the same day.

There are two new cases from the Celebrity Solstice, bringing the total to four in NSW.

As previously reported, three crew members were taken from the Ruby Princess with symptoms last night. Their results have not been returned.

Crew on the Voyager of the Seas ship have also been displaying symptoms, with 70 receiving testing. Of these, four tested positive and are included in the above total.

Thanks to Marissa Calligeros for helming our live coverage for the first part of the day.

I’m Paul Sakkal and I’ll be taking you through into the evening.

We’ll be hearing from the deputy chief medical officer, Paul Kelly, at 2.15, and the Prime Minister and Treasurer will reveal details of their wage subsidy scheme this afternoon, as well.

We’ll live stream those press conferences here in the blog, so do stay with us.

New Zealanders are embracing their “inner cop”, crashing a Dob-in-a-Kiwi website within a day of police opening it.

Police established the www.105.police.govt.nz website during the country’s coronavirus lockdown to allow members of the public to report people not complying with the restrictions.

Commissioner Mike Bush said police received 4200 reports in the first 24 hours.

“It crashed our system. So we put it back up again. And it’s working,” he said.

The website was created after thousands of Kiwis flooded the country’s emergency number, 111, to provide the same information.

About 1000 of the submissions relate to businesses operating in defiance of the lockdown, with the rest relating to individuals.

AAP

Here is a taste of The Age’s editorial if you have not yet read it:

The daily tallies of infections and deaths, the suspension of sporting and social activities, business and school closures, job losses and the need to isolate are putting incredible strain on many individuals and households. From the moment you leave home, the shuttered shops and empty streetscapes are a powerful reminder of the all-pervading extent of this crisis. It is not for the faint hearted, and yet we must all deal with its consequences.

Extra funding announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison for services to help those with mental health issues and victims of family violence is a welcome step. While the physical risk of being infected by the coronavirus is the immediate danger at hand, the tremendous emotional strain many in our community are being put under will ripple though people’s lives for years to come.

The stress is already starting to surface. Lifeline, which experienced a 10 to 15 per cent rise in calls over summer due to the bushfires, is being hit with another increase in people contacting it, taking about 3000 calls a day. Kids Helpline, which caters for five-year-olds to 25-year-olds, has also had surging numbers of calls.

You can read the full editorial here.

Western Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli says his side’s round one loss will burn throughout the AFL shutdown.

He stresses that football is rightly a secondary concern to people’s health with the to suspend the season, but says players are desperate to play again this year.

He said whether it’s his team playing or not, any AFL player would welcome the chance to play finals on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve if that was what ended up happening in this extraordinary year.

Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli would welcome a Christmas Day grand final.

Bulldogs captain Marcus Bontempelli would welcome a Christmas Day grand final.Credit:AAP

“It could be a Chrissy Day special,” Bontempelli told The Age’s sports writer Michael Gleeson.

“Someone else mentioned New Year’s Eve. I think whenever it is, players would just love to get out there and be part of it and play. As players we are keen for action, no matter when. We would all be willing to spend the festive season playing in a grand final.”

Premier Daniel Andrews has been explaining Victoria’s stage 3 restrictions on Twitter today.

“Under stage 3, gatherings of more than two people will also be off limits.

“That doesn’t mean you should think, ‘Great, I still have one mate ’round for beers at home and that’s OK.

“It’s really not.”

Source: Sydney Morning Herald

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