Coronavirus surges in NSW with 20 new cases in 24 hours

The number of coronavirus cases in NSW has jumped to 112 while Sydney's St Patrick's Day parade has become the latest event to be cancelled because of COVID-19.

As of 11am on Saturday, an additional 20 people had been diagnosed with the virus in NSW, the state's health authority said in a statement.

The new cases include a 41-year-old female healthcare worker. Authorities are working to identify how she became infected.

A man wears a face mask as a preventative measure against Coronavirus COVID-19 in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Sydney.
The number of cases of coronavirus in NSW have reached 112. Source: Getty Images

Other new cases include a 64-year-old woman who recently visited Germany; a 31-year-old woman who was recently in Finland and the United Kingdom; a 43-year-old man who had travelled to France and the UK; and a 67-year-old man who recently visited the United States.

Three people who had recently returned from Italy have also been diagnosed as having the coronavirus.

NSW Health said of the 112 cases, 51 were acquired overseas while 32 were infected after contact with a confirmed case. The remaining are either unknown or under investigation.

The health authority is also tracking down close contacts of a woman in her 60s who was previously confirmed to have coronavirus.

The woman has not recently travelled internationally and was a patient at a radiation oncology clinic in Newcastle, with the source of infection still being investigated.

A further 1668 cases in NSW are being investigated while more than 18,700 have been tested and cleared, NSW Health said.

 Sparsely populated stands as A-League fans brave the rain and the ongoing threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak during the round 23 A-League match between Sydney FC and the Perth Glory at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium in Sydney, Australia.
Fans watch on at an A-League game in Sydney on Saturday amid fears of coronavirus. Source: Getty Images

As the number of COVID-19 cases in NSW climbs, several large events across the state have been cancelled in a bid to slow its spread.

Sydney's St Patrick's Day Festival, due to be held at the Rocks on Sunday, was cancelled on Saturday afternoon after "further reflection" by the event organisers.

"While the government restrictions on large events don't come into play until Monday, on further reflection and on listening to our supporters and community, we have decided to cancel the event," Sydney St Patrick's Day president Karen Murphy said on Facebook.

"It has been a difficult decision for our voluntary committee, but we believe it is in the best interest of the community at this time."

A man wearing a mask waits in a line to be screened for coronavirus outside the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
A man waits outside Royal Melbourne Hospital. Source: Getty Images

‘Whatever is necessary’

Victoria’s health department said 13 more people had been diagnosed with coronavirus on Friday bringing the state’s total to 49 on Saturday.

The department said only one case “may have” been acquired through community transmission.

Victorian Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton expects to see more cases.

“We are reviewing this rapidly evolving situation daily and will continue to provide up-to-date information to the community,” Professor Sutton said.

“I am focused on doing whatever is necessary to minimise the spread of infection and keep Victorians safe."

People wait in line to be screened for COVID-19 outside the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
People wait to be tested for coronavirus in Melbourne. Source: Getty Images

WA tightens up testing

Western Australia currently has 14 cases but is yet to do an update on Saturday. Five more patients were confirmed on Friday.

The state’s health department also said on Friday it would be tightening the testing criteria for West Australians concerned they might have COVID-19.

This “due to a global shortage of the chemical reagent required for laboratory testing”, the department said.

People make their way through streets of the central business district of Sydney.
WA will have stricter guidelines for testing people for COVID-19. Source: Getty Images

From now on only people with a temperature of 37.5C or above or who have a respiratory illness will be tested.

Those who have had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient or have been overseas with proof of it will also be able to get tested.

Queensland currently has 35 cases of coronavirus while South Australia has 16.

Tasmania’s health department confirmed its fifth case on Saturday – a man in his 60s.

He has travelled from North America and arrived in Tasmania on Tuesday. The man is currently in hospital in a stable condition.

with AAP

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