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Australia Three Victorians dead from COVID-19 as death toll surges

07:23  26 march  2020
07:23  26 march  2020 Source:   9news.com.au

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Jenny Mikakos wearing a suit and tie: A third man in his 70s has died from coronavirus in Victoria, taking the national toll to 12. © AAP A third man in his 70s has died from coronavirus in Victoria, taking the national toll to 12. Three Victorians have died from the coronavirus pandemic, bringing the national death toll to 12.

Victoria Health Minister Jenny Mikakos confirmed the three people who died in a Melbourne hospital were all men aged in their 70s.

The deaths come as the state recorded 54 new cases since yesterday. Victoria's total has climbed to 520 infections.

Pictures: Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak around the world

"We have sadly lost three Victorians to COVID-19," Ms Mikakos said.

"I'm urging everyone to respect the privacy of the families during this difficult time.

"We all have a role to play in our fight against coronavirus and this means that we all must take very seriously the message that we must stay home."

She said the new Victorian cases include 300 men and 216 women. People infected are aged from pre-school age to their late eighties. Four cases are under investigation.

Breakdown of cases

There are nine confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Victoria that may have been acquired through community transmission.

Fourteen people are in hospital, including three patients fighting for their lives in intensive care.

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Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said Victoria was "lucky" to not have more deaths.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Victorian Chief Health Officer Prof Brett Sutton speaks to the media during a press conference in Melbourne. © AAP Victorian Chief Health Officer Prof Brett Sutton speaks to the media during a press conference in Melbourne.

He stressed the deadly virus was not an "old persons" disease.

"Vulnerability is over 70 years of age, anyone with a pre-existing condition is another level of risk, but I do not want to give the impression that if you're over 70 with no medical condition at all that you are not at risk of dying or needing intensive care," Mr Sutton said.

Health workers among positive cases

The state's tally includes four health workers at Werribee Mercy Hospital in Melbourne's outer west.

The hospital confirmed one emergency department worker tested positive to COVID-19 on Sunday.

Fellow staff members considered at risk of infection were isolated and tested, with three confirmed as also having the virus.

a person wearing a costume: Coronavirus lockdown in force around Australia © Supplied Coronavirus lockdown in force around Australia

Possible stage-three restrictions

The news of the deaths comes as Premier Daniel Andrews flagged the state government was prepared to go it alone and push forward with tougher stage-three restrictions.

The next level of restrictions would shut down a large proportion of the retail sector.

Meanwhile, Victoria's Police Association has called for a state of disaster to be declared, which would give its members greater powers during the coronavirus pandemic.

About 500 police officers are tasked with enforcing the closure of non-essential services in Victoria and the mandatory 14-day self-isolation for travellers.

Individuals face fines of up to $25,000 and businesses could be forced to cough up $100,000 for breaching restrictions.

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Virgin Australia grounds international fleet amid coronavirus pandemic .
Virgin Australia is grounding its international fleet in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The airline made the announcement in a statement to the ASX.All international services will be suspended from March 30 to June 14. The airline is also slashing domestic capacity by 50 per cent until June 14.The equivalent of 53 aircraft will be grounded."We have entered an unprecedented time in the global aviation industry," said Virgin Australia CEO and managing director Paul Scurrah.

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