Officials warn 1.5 million people in one Australian state could get coronavirus

Olivia Lambert
News Editor

Aussies have copped a disturbing warning that 1.5 million people in NSW alone could be infected with the deadly coronavirus.

NSW Chief Medical Officer Kerry Chant on Thursday told the Budget Estimates Committee on Health it was predicted that each person who contracted coronavirus would likely transmit it to at least two other people.

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The ABC reports that prediction meant 20 per cent of NSW’s population would be struck down with the virus, which equates to about 1.5 million.

“We’re nowhere near the peak,” she told the Budget Estimates Committee.

“We’ve got early evidence of limited community transmission and now is the time we are continuing our endeavours to trace and isolate cases.”

Dr Chant also warned anybody who is sick, regardless of recent overseas travel, to stay at home and away from any large gatherings.

NSW Chief Medical Officer Kerry Chant warns if people are unwell to stay at home. Source: 7News

“The best thing you can do is stay at home if you’re unwell. Don’t push through, don’t go to workplaces, don’t go and visit loved ones in aged care facilities, don’t go and visit loved ones in hospital, and don’t go to public events where you’re going to be cheek and jowl,” she said.

In declaring a global pandemic, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said there was still a chance to limit the spread of the virus but he also pointed to "alarming levels of inaction".

"We cannot say this loudly enough, or clearly enough, or often enough: all countries can still change the course of this pandemic," he said.

"Ready your hospitals, protect and train your health workers, and let's all look out for each other because we need each other."

Festival-goer tests positive for coronavirus

It is believed a person who attended the popular Golden Plains festival southwest of Melbourne has tested positive for coronavirus.

The three-day event attracted more than 12,000 people and the ABC reports one attendee who recently returned from overseas tested positive for COVID-19 after feeling unwell on Sunday.

Pixies had headlined the festival and have since announced they would be cancelling the rest of their Australian tour.

“Out of caution for current public health concerns, PIXIES are postponing their remaining Australian shows in Brisbane, Sydney and Perth,” the band said in a tweet.

“This was an extremely difficult decision, but the well-being of our fans is always our top priority. Rescheduled dates for all of these shows will be announced soon.

“We ask that our fans retain their tickets as they will be honoured on the new dates. Thank you for your understanding and we look forward to returning to Australia.”

The Victorian Department of Health told Yahoo News Australia in a statement it was aware of a case associated with the Golden Plains music festival, but contact tracing is still underway.

“Due to the outdoor nature of the festival the risk of transmission is low. More information about this case will be available [on Friday] when the details of Victorian COVID-19 cases will be updated,” the statement said.

The department says for the virus to spread, extended close personal contact is required. Close personal contact is at least 15 minutes face-to-face or more than two hours in the same room.

- with AAP

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