Coronavirus crisis: Australia's COVID-19 death toll hits double figures

Victoria recorded its first coronavirus deaths overnight: Photo: Shutterstock
Victoria recorded its first coronavirus deaths overnight: Photo: Shutterstock

The national fatality toll from COVID-19 has risen to 11 after the death of two Victorians.

The two men in their 70s died overnight, the state's chief health officer said.

"The reality is if you're over 70, you're in a more vulnerable category, so that's a risk factor, and people with chronic conditions, pre-existing illnesses, will be at greater risk as well," Brett Sutton told 3AW on Thursday.

"But, you know, they were confirmed cases of coronavirus and this is what coronavirus does."

They are the state's first deaths while total number of confirmed cases has also risen to 520, which is 54 more cases than recorded on Wednesday.

Prof Sutton said the number of daily fresh cases has stabilised, likely due to the number of international travellers entering Victoria falling away.

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However he insisted Victorians "shouldn't be complacent".

"There will be a number of their contacts, a number of other potential community transmission cases that will grow over time, if we don't stay away from each other," he said.

There are more than 2500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, with hundreds of people hospitalised.

More than 169,000 people have been tested for the disease.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said one sick person could lead to 400 more contracting the disease within a month if they didn't stick to distancing and quarantine measures.

All non-urgent elective surgery has been put on indefinite hold in a bid to free up capacity across the hospital system.

The government is sending text messages telling Australians: "Stop the spread, stay 1.5m from others, follow rules on social gatherings, wash hands, stay home if sick".

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This story Australia's COVID-19 death toll now double figures first appeared on The Canberra Times.