Australia's coronavirus death toll rises again after new fatalities in WA, Tasmania

Australia recorded two more coronavirus deaths on Friday.

The North West Regional Hospital is seen closed in Burnie, Tasmania, Tuesday, April 14, 2020

The North West Regional Hospital is seen in Burnie, Tasmania, Tuesday, April 14, 2020 Source: AAP

A crew member from the coronavirus-plagued Artania cruise ship has died in a Perth hospital, taking Western Australia's toll to seven.

Health Minister Roger Cook said the 42-year-old man from the Philippines died at Royal Perth Hospital on Thursday, becoming the youngest person to die after contracting coronavirus in Australia.

It took the number of confirmed coronavirus-related deaths to have occurred in Australia to 65.

Earlier, Tasmania recorded its seventh coronavirus death.

The 71-year-old man died on Friday morning at the Mersey Community Hospital at Latrobe in the state's northwest.

Earlier on Friday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said an aged care worker in northwest Tasmania was dishonest about their contacts amid a coronavirus outbreak in the region.

Two hospitals have been forced to close in Burnie, with a COVID-19 outbreak infecting almost 100 people linked to the facilities, including 60 workers and 16 patients.

Speaking to Triple M Hobart, Mr Morrison said it was an example of why more rigorous contact tracing was needed.

"We had someone down there not tell the truth to the contract tracers about where they've been and who they've been with," he said on Friday.

"And that means a lot of people have been put at risk in northwest Tasmania.

"They had been working in the health system more broadly, the aged care system, so this has been very unhelpful."

His comments came after authorities revealed overnight someone who tested positive to COVID-19 had worked at three nursing homes in the northwest. 

Authorities are testing all residents and staff at Melaleuca Nursing Home in East Devonport, Eliza Purton Home for the Aged in Ulverstone and Coroneagh Park in Penguin.

No virus cases have been confirmed at the homes but one resident with mild respiratory symptoms is expected to get test results back on Friday.

The worker, who was diagnosed on Wednesday, also did shifts at Burnie's now-closed North West Regional Hospital and North West Private Hospital.

Authorities are bracing for an increase in the number of coronavirus cases linked to a western Sydney aged care home after a worker attended the facility for six consecutive days with mild symptoms and later tested positive.

Aged care cases in NSW

Meanwhile, NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant says 29 people connected to Anglicare's Newmarch House in Caddens have been confirmed to have COVID-19, with testing being ramped up at the facility.

Of those cases, three are overseas-acquired and at least 20 are contacts of the female employee who attended work for six days with a sore throat.

Strict isolation protocols have been implemented at the home but Dr Chant expects the number of coronavirus cases linked to the facility to rise.

She reiterated aged care workers needed to take particular care because COVID-19 was extremely infectious in institutional settings such as nursing homes.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others and gatherings are limited to two people unless you are with your family or household.

If you believe you may have contracted the virus, call your doctor (don’t visit) or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. If you are struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus


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Published 17 April 2020 at 2:30pm, updated 17 April 2020 at 5:58pm