NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard confirmed an additional 104 cases of COVID-19 overnight, bringing the state’s total number of cases to 2493.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard confirmed an additional 104 cases of COVID-19 overnight, bringing the state's total number of cases to 2493.
Twelve people aged between 67 and 95 have died in the state in total.
"It is a trying time and a difficult time and they can't imagine how those families are feeling," Mr Hazzard said.
"We currently have 251 cases of COVID-19 being treated. And it is pleasing to see that about 50 per cent of these people are being treated in their homes, through the hospital in the home program," said Dr Chant.
Despite the older age range, NSW's Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant emphasised the importance of young people remaining vigilant.
"We have 41 people in ICU. 23 of those are on ventilators. And we actually have four people in their 30s," she said.
"The message I would like to convey is that while this disease is generally milder in young age groups, because no-one in the community has protection, or underlying immunity to this new virus, we will expect to see severe consequences for some people in the younger age groups."
Social distancing and lockdown measures clarified
Mr Hazzard clarified a number of social distancing and lockdown measures relating to funeral attendance, caravan parks and truck drivers.
Funerals may now have 10 people in attendance, "in addition to those officiating and ensuring the service can take place".
"I have clarified through the order that caravan parks throughout New South Wales can be used by overnight travellers and by persons, people working in the local area and people whose primary places of residence are temporarily unavailable," he said.
Rest areas have now been ordered to stay open so truck drivers can comply with their health and safety regulations.
"I want to make sure that truck drivers know now that they can stop at those truck stops," Mr Hazzard said.
Despite relaxing some of the lockdown measures, Mr Hazzard said people should still be complying with the 1.5 metres social distancing requirements.
"In regard to each of those orders, remind those who are attending, whether it is auctions, whether it is caravan parks, whether it is at the funerals, there is still a fundamental requirement that you maintain your social distancing -- can I say. Maintain it. It is 1.5m from any person at near you," he said.
"This Covid-19, is an extremely dangerous virus, but it isn't a high jumper, it isn't a long jumper, if you keep your distance you are much more likely to be safe. I also remind each of these facilities that will be opened that they must ensure the highest level of cleaning and disinfecting of spaces where people are putting their hands and their arms."
Mr Hazzard defends senior staff
Mr Hazzard delivered a strong message to the media and public defending senior staff who authorised the disembarkation of the Ruby Princess cruise ship.
"I find it disappointing in the strongest way possible that there can be any suggestion that those people are not doing their best," he said.
Mr Hazzard strongly condemned any harsh criticism of those who authorised the ship to be allowed to dock in Sydney.
"I think if the average person got some of the criticism that was being thrown at them, they would say, I am not doing this job anymore. That is something we cannot afford to have, as a community," he said.
Mr Hazzard and Dr Chant said the decision to allow the passengers from the Ruby Princess to disembark may have been handled differently had they known about the high risk.
But a decision to keep the passengers on board could have been equally dangerous.
"We all remember the Diamond Princess, when people were kept on board a ship, and it was a disastrous outcome. And that operates in the mind of all the senior health officials across Australia, it is a balancing act, like everything else," Mr Hazzard said.
The cases from the Ruby Princess now account for more than 10 per cent of the country's cases.
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-nsw-records-104-new-cases--of-covid19-minister-defends-ruby-princess-cruise-ship-bungle/69996e5a-2baa-47fd-be4a-457d8c6b4111