There have been 39 new confirmed coronavirus cases in NSW in the past 24 hours, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has said.
- Minister warns that NSW needs to be prepared for an exponential increase in cases
- Premier says it’s too early to say whether NSW should shut down bars and restaurants
- Sydney Opera House cancels all performances until at least March 29
It is the largest increase in a 24-hour period, overtaking yesterday’s record rise of 37 cases.
NSW now has 210 confirmed cases across the state.
There are 1,482 cases under investigation, with 28,552 cases tested and excluded, NSW Health said.
Ninety cases of the 210 were acquired overseas, 54 were likely due to contact with a confirmed case and the remainder were either under investigation or unknown.
The largest age group affected is the 30-39 group, with 52 cases.
Mr Hazzard said the state needed to be prepared for an exponential increase in infections.
“This virus has very much a mind of its own and it knows that at the moment across the world, it’s winning the battle,” he said.
“Here in NSW, I think we’re holding the line but we still need to do a lot more work.”
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said it was too early to say whether the state could follow the actions of virus-hit locations overseas by closing venues such as bars and restaurants.
“I don’t want to speculate on that as yet,” she said.
“Please know that we are in regular, daily contact with the health experts. We are motivated by the advice we have from experts.
“We are not at that stage yet [of closing venues]. But I do appreciate all of us, including myself, are taking extra precautions as we should, so there is no doubt been a downturn in what people normally do.”
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The latest update on cases follows the announcement by the State Government today of a $2.3 billion coronavirus stimulus package, including a $700 million funding boost for NSW Health’s frontline services.
Ms Berejiklian said the package would be split between healthcare and other measures including tax exemptions aimed at keeping people in jobs.
“A huge component will go directly towards the health system, to purchase more equipment, to put on additional staff, and to take care of every patient that comes through,” she said.
“We also appreciate given the extra measures of social distancing and social isolation, the impact this is having on our community.
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“That’s why the package today includes a huge component to relieve small businesses and medium-sized businesses of payroll tax, but also to ensure that government does its bit in employing more people in certain areas during this difficult time.”
Elsewhere, the Sydney Opera House announced it was cancelling all public performances from today until at least March 29.
Sydney Opera House chief executive Louise Herron said it was the venue’s responsibility to protect the public from the spread of coronavirus.
“This is not a decision we have taken lightly but these are unprecedented events,” she said.
Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our artists, audiences, visitors and our valued staff.”
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