Australia recorded its youngest victim of COVID-19 after a 30-year-old man with underlying health conditions died in Queensland, having shown symptoms of the disease for weeks but without getting tested, officials said on Wednesday.
The latest case brings to 103 the number of deaths recorded in Australia, from more than 7,100 cases.
Australia has been one of the most successful nations when it comes to containing the coronavirus spread, which officials attribute to early travel restrictions, social distancing measures and widespread testing.
Authorities were tracing a possible link between the man and the Ruby Princess cruise ship which docked in Sydney in March and was responsible for Australia’s biggest outbreak of the virus, Queensland state officials said.
“He was showing symptoms prior to his death but also had other illnesses. He tested positive in the post mortem. His partner is now sick with symptoms. She is now being isolated,” QLD Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk said.
Police and medics who attended the man are now in isolation.
Life is beginning to return to normal with schools returning to face-to-face learning this week and the National Rugby League competition set to resume on Thursday.
“Large parts of the country have had no cases for prolonged periods and the majority of our cases now are returned travellers, with only a handful of people still in intensive care,” Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Brendan Murphy, told a government enquiry.
If Australia had registered the same death rate as the United Kingdom, it would have had some 14,000 deaths, Murphy added.
“So I think we have done well, we are in a very cautious phase now of trying to move to a living-with-COVID economy.”
Morrison Wants State And Territory Borders Open ASAP, Says Closures ‘Harm Economy’
Still, several state and territory borders remained closed, raising tensions between officials as the focus shifts to reviving the economy, facing its first recession in three decades.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison reiterated the Federal government’s stance that there was no advice for states to keep their borders closed.
“That was never the medical expert advice that came at any time. Premiers and their governments in states, whether it is South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, Queensland, have all made their own decisions and so they have got to justify those decisions,” he told Channel Nine’s Today show on Wednesday.
“There is no doubt that those sort of borders do harm the economy, they do harm jobs and it is important that we get those removed as soon as possible.”
NSW Puts Pay Freeze On Public Sector
Nurses, teachers and police officers in NSW will not get their annual pay increase, Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed on Wednesday.
“There are 410,000 employees in the New South Wales public service, of which the Treasurer and I are, too. And none of us, nobody, will be getting a pay rise from this period onwards for the next 12 months as agreements come up,” she told reporters.
“The reason for this is that every spare dollar we have and every dollar we don’t have, we need to spend in health and also in jobs and job security.
“Nobody will be forced out of a job in the New South Wales public service.”