Australia

New coronavirus cases in Australia drop to lowest number in three weeks

Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt speaks to the media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Thursday, April 9, 2020. Source: AAP

While the national coronavirus death toll has risen to 51, Australia has recorded a daily increase in new infections below 100 for the first time in three weeks.

Australia has recorded a daily increase in new coronavirus infections below 100 for the first time in three weeks.

Health Minister Greg Hunt on Thursday announced 96 new cases of the disease, the lowest infection rate since strict social distancing measures came into place.

"This weekend there is good news for Australia, but there is a warning that we can either lock in the gains or lose those gains," he told reporters in Canberra.

"This Easter is the time when any Australian can help save a life with their decisions, or inadvertently risk a life."

More than 6,000 Australians have contracted coronavirus, with 51 dead.

There are 260 in hospital, 82 in intensive care and 35 on ventilators, but all those numbers are lower than at the peak.

Mr Hunt said Australians must stay at home over the long weekend to protect lives and give the nation a pathway to navigate the pandemic.

"This in many ways is the most important weekend we may face in the whole course of the virus," he said.

The news came after it was confirmed a third person in South Australia succumbed to the coronavirus.

The 76-year-old man from regional SA died on Wednesday night in Royal Adelaide Hospital, lifting the national death toll to 51.

"The man acquired COVID-19 in the Barossa Valley," the SA Department for Health and Wellbeing said in a statement on Thursday.

His is the third death in SA from COVID-19 and follows the death on Wednesday of a 62-year-old woman who contracted the virus when she was a passenger on the Ruby Princess cruise ship.

Another man, 75-year-old Francesco Ferraro, died on Monday. His infection was linked to interstate travel.

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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