Coronavirus Australia live updates: Stage three lockdown likely within days in NSW, Victoria and ACT

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Draconian stage two lockdown measures are now in force across the country with NSW, the ACT and Victoria likely to bring in even stronger rules within days.

More than 280,000 people lodged an ‘intent to claim’ notice with Centrelink yesterday, with fears up to two million Australians could be left unemployed in the worst crisis since the Great Depression as a result of a government-imposed shutdown of the economy in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

RELATED: Follow more coronavirus news

NSW, Victoria and the ACT yesterday warned residents to brace for even more job losses under tougher measures that will shut down a broader range of businesses and further restrict social movement, with Canberra’s leader promising only that “we will keep the power on, and the water running”.

More than 2400 cases of COVID-19 have now been confirmed across Australia with 1029 in New South Wales, 466 in Victoria, 443 in Queensland, 205 in Western Australia, 197 in South Australia, 44 in the Australian Capital Territory, 42 in Tasmania and six in the Northern Territory.

Nine people have died – one in WA, seven in NSW and one in Queensland.

Follow our live, rolling coverage below.

Live Updates

3h agoMarch 26, 2020HIGHLIGHT

COVID-19 cases climb across Australia

Frank Chung

Australia now has more than 2400 coronavirus cases after NSW reported another record increase of 211, Victoria another 55 and Queensland another 46.

As of Wednesday morning there were 1029 in NSW, 466 in Victoria, 443 in Queensland, 170 in South Australia, 205 in Western Australia, 42 in Tasmania, 44 in the Australian Capital Territory and six in the Northern Territory.

Nine people have died — one in Western Australia, one in Queensland and seven in NSW.

In Victoria, two people are currently in intensive care – one in their 30s and one in their 60s.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said she was not in the habit of releasing patient’s ages but did so in this case “just to stress that COVID-19 is not an elderly person’s disease”.

“We have had many people overseas in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s ending up in ICU beds because of their diagnosis of COVID-19,” she said.

She wished the two patients “a speedy recovery but this does make the point that this virus can strike down quite young people as well”.

Australia’s deputy chief health officer Paul Kelly said the person in their 30s being in intensive care was a “wake up call”.

“This is a wake-up call. No-one is immune to this. Many of us will get sick from it. Some of us will get severely sick and end up in hospital. Some will need to be in intensive care. And some of us, as we’ve seen already, unfortunately, will pass away from this disease.

State and territory leaders have beefed up police enforcement to crack down on returning travellers to ensure they are self-isolating.

“Victoria Police has a 500-strong squad and they’re not mucking about,” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said this morning.

“They’re out there checking on thousands and thousands of people who have returned from overseas. If you’re doing the wrong thing, you will be caught. We’re using technology, we are doing everything we can and I thank every one of those Victoria Police members, I thank everyone across the team – health workers, people working at DHHS, doing the thousands and thousands of phone calls to do all that contact-tracing, everyone is stepping up.”

He added, “Victorians need to step up, too. Follow the rules, follow the advice, do the right thing or people will die. I can’t put it anymore more simply and plainly than that.”4h agoMarch 26, 2020HIGHLIGHT

Aussie party-goers infected by virus

Megan Palin

Dozens of Australian party-goers have contracted the coronavirus after attending an event at a Noosa restaurant.

The 50th birthday celebration at Sails restaurant on Noosa’s Hastings Street, which overlooks the golden sands of its main beach, has become one of the key spreading events of the corona­virus crisis, The Australian reports. 

Up to 30 of the 90 guests who gathered at the event on Saturday, March 14 have been infected, according to the newspaper. 

It’s believed the source of the virus was a guest who had recently returned from the US and attended the party before self-isolation rules were implemented.

Sails Restaurant has temporarily closed.

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