Australians told to stock up on essentials as infections continue to soar

Victoria’s health department is advising anyone who might have coronavirus to prepare to stock up on essential items from the supermarket.

The department wrote on Facebook on Wednesday five tips for planning in such a situation and advised regularly washing hands with soap and water.

“As you may need to isolate at home if exposed to a person with confirmed infection, you could add a few more essential items to your regular shop now,” it wrote.

The department also recommended checking in on elderly neighbours, relatives and people with disabilities, to plan for pets who might need care and to get prescriptions sorted in case you need to stay at home for a few weeks.

A sign explaining COVID-19 screening procedure is posted outside the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
People queue to get assessed at Royal Melbourne Hospital. Source: Getty Images

NSW university to reopen its doors

As of Wednesday evening, there are 65 cases of coronavirus in NSW. Four additional cases were reported to NSW Health between Tuesday evening to Wednesday afternoon.

A northern NSW university campus is expected to reopen after a staff member tested positive for coronavirus.

Southern Cross University at Lismore was closed on Wednesday after an internationally-based staff member attended a series of workshops from March 4 to 6 before returning to the Philippines on Saturday.

The man also visited the university's Gold Coast campus and returned a positive result on March 10.

Vice-chancellor Adam Shoemaker says 45 people are believed to have come into contact or proximity with the man during his time in Australia.

People out in the suburb of Chatswood wearing face masks.
Residents in Chatswood, in Sydney's north, wear face masks. Source: Getty Images

"In conjunction with health authorities, the university has commenced contacting each individual," Professor Shoemaker said in a statement on Wednesday.

It is anticipated that both campuses will reopen on Thursday.

Prof Shoemaker told AAP necessary protocols would apply in relation to everyone who may have interacted with the staff member.

"The university is being vigilant and will continue to monitor the situation closely," he said.

Three more Victorians diagnosed

Another three Victorians were confirmed as having the illness on Wednesday morning after returning from the United States.

Carey Baptist Grammar School in Melbourne's inner east later reported a second staff member becoming infected, bringing the state's total number of cases to 22.

Premier Daniel Andrews says the state control centre has begun co-ordinating government agencies grappling with the virus outbreak, which has been categorised as a class two emergency.

Class one emergencies include natural disasters like bushfires and floods, while class two includes extreme heat and energy issues.

"The central co-ordination of our response is very important. We've learnt that many different times in different circumstances," Mr Andrews told reporters in Melbourne.

South Australia launches stimulus package

South Australia will launch a $350 million stimulus package to aid those impacted by not just coronavirus but also droughts and bushfires.

Infrastructure projects including road and hospital maintenance work and funds for tourism facilities will form the centrepiece of the initiative, which will require SA to increase borrowings.

At the same time, the government has pledged no taxes to fund the measures, ensuring the budget will take a sizable hit.

A customer pushes a shopping cart containing toilet paper at a supermarket in Sydney.
A woman stocks up on toilet paper and bottled water. Source: Getty Images (file pic)

"During these times of significant global uncertainty, we are committed to doing all we can to ensure the state's economy maintains its forward momentum and that local jobs are not only protected but can continue to grow into the future," Premier Steven Marshall said on Wednesday.

"While we are not immune from the impacts of this global crisis, this package will go some way to assist us to minimise the inevitable shocks to come."

But Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas said providing the stimulus directly to households would have been more effective to get money into the economy.

"It is a missed opportunity because it lacks detail and provides no direct stimulus to South Australian households," Mr Malinauskas said.

"The $350m towards stimulus without any detail means it is very hard for businesses and households to get the confidence they need to continue to drive economic activity."

Western Australia sees 800 patients in a day

In WA, three more people were diagnosed with coronavirus in Western Australia on Wednesday as the state government releases its updated pandemic plan.

The two men and one woman from Perth had separately travelled to Europe, the UK and US.

They are all stable and in home isolation, chief health officer Andrew Robertson said on Wednesday.

He said some developed symptoms on their return to Perth and some while they were on the plane.

Passengers from China Southern Airlines flight CZ319 arrive at Perth International Airport.
Passengers from China arrive at Perth International Airport last month. Source: Getty Images

It brings WA's total COVID-19 cases to nine.

Health minister Roger Cook said specialist clinics saw 800 people on Tuesday and up to 450 were being tested. The results of those tests are expected later this week.

The Pandemic Plan, which was last updated in 2014, outlines arrangements for protecting the community and minimising the impact of coronavirus.

It includes preparations to close schools and businesses, cancelling of major events and special arrangements for shopping hours.

Concerns over man who visited Brisbane nightclub

Queensland Health announced two more confirmed cases of coronavirus on Wednesday afternoon.

A 32-year-old woman remains in a Gold Coast hospital after contracting the virus. The department said she had been visiting the US.

A 31-year-old man also remains in a Gold Coast hospital and the department said he was in “close contact” with the woman.

People leave a Costco warehouse with rolls of toilet paper amongst their groceries in Melbourne.
People leave a Costco in Melbourne with some toilet paper. Source: Getty Images

Queensland Health is also concerned about a 22-year-old man who visited Friday’s Riverside, a nightclub in Brisbane’s CBD, on Friday between 6-11pm.

He also visited the University of Queensland on Tuesday.

The department is telling anyone who visited Friday’s and is feeling unwell to contact them on 13 HEALTH.

In total, 20 people in Queensland are confirmed to have coronavirus.

With AAP

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