Australia

NSW coronavirus death toll rises to 50, while Victoria's meat factory cluster grows

Pedestrians are seen wearing face masks in the CBD, Sydney. Source: AAP

An 80-year-old woman has died from COVID-19 in a NSW hospital, bringing the state's death toll to 50 and the national toll to 101.

An 80-year-old woman has become the 50th coronavirus-related death in NSW, bringing the national toll to 101.

NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said the woman died in Concord Hospital and became infected after being exposed to the virus in an outpatient clinical setting.

Dr Chant says there's no evidence of further transmission or ongoing risk at Concord Hospital.

The state on Friday recorded three new COVID-19 cases from more than 8,600 tests.

As the temperature begins to drop and winter starts, Dr Chant said it's particularly important for people to come forward and get tested and re-tested if symptoms return.

NSW Chief Medical Officer Dr Kerry Chant.
NSW Chief Medical Officer Dr Kerry Chant.
AAP

"In order to prevent any loss of control over the numbers, to keep those numbers as low as we possibly can, we're going to need the cooperation of the community to come forward for testing and repeatedly come forward for testing over the coming months to year," she told reporters in Sydney on Friday.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian also flagged that Monday will be a big day for the state as public schools return to full-time face-to-face teaching and people begin returning to on-site work.

"It's really, really important we don't forget, we don't let our guard down, we don't get complacent because complacency is as big an enemy as the virus itself," she told reporters.

Ms Berejiklian reiterated her calls for students to, where possible, walk to school, get dropped off or use dedicated school bus services rather than public transport.

The premier confirmed her government is seeking a freeze on pay rises for MPs amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has battered the state's economy.

"We know 90 per cent of people who aren't employed by the state government have gone through a very very difficult time," she said.

"Given that is what's going on at the moment, I think it's only appropriate for us as elected officials to reflect and empathise with what's going on out there."

Certainty for students in Victoria as case numbers grow

Victorian year 11 and 12 students will begin exams in early November and have their results by the end of the year, the state government has announced.

But as the state government reveals details of school returns, coronavirus cases continue to grow.

Victoria recorded 12 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, bringing the state's total to 1,593. About 93 cases are active.

Five of the new cases were linked to the Cedar Meats cluster, which now totals 111 people.

Four recently returned travellers in hotel quarantine also tested positive, while two people tested positive as part of the state's testing blitz and one remains under investigation.

The exterior of Cedar Meats Australia is seen in Melbourne.
The exterior of Cedar Meats Australia is seen in Melbourne.
AAP

There are no new confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Victorian aged care centres, after three facilities went into lockdown as a precaution.

Even with the new cases, the government says it is safe for students and teachers to return to the classroom from 26 May.

The Victorian Certificate of Education exams will start the week of 9 November and finish by 2 December, Education Minister James Merlino has announced.

It means students will have their Australian Tertiary Admission Rank, or ATAR, before the end of the year, allowing them to receive university offers at the same time as students across the country.

"This provides much-needed certainty for our year 12 students who have done it tough this year and their families," Mr Merlino told reporters on Friday.

"They can celebrate finalising their year 12 before the end of the year, enjoy the summer break and then plan for their futures.

"It will mean no disadvantage for Victorian students in terms of university and other pathways."

The revised dates are about two weeks later than the original completion date of November 18, set before the COVID-19 crisis.

"When you think about the disruption to the world and to all our students this year as a result of COVID-19 that's an outstanding outcome," Mr Merlino said.

As of Friday, 10,000 school staff had been tested for COVID-19 and all had been cleared of the deadly virus.

There are about 80,000 teachers registered across the state.

Year 11 and 12 students will be among the first to return to face-to-face learning from 26 May, along with prep and grades 1 and 2.

Students in all other year levels will return on 9 June.

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.

Testing for coronavirus is now widely available across Australia. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

The federal government's coronavirus tracing app COVIDSafe is available for download from your phone's app store. 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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