Early signs of curve flattening, as rate of new coronavirus cases slows

Health Minister Greg Hunt and Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong
Health Minister Greg Hunt and Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the percentage of new coronavirus cases each day is falling, as tough restrictions on movement take effect.

However the number of Google searches related to domestic violence is at a five-year high, as the side effects of measures to slow the spread of the virus mount.

As of 6am on Sunday, Australia has 3809 confirmed cases of COVID-19, an increase of 431 on the previous day.

But Health Minister Greg Hunt said there were "early signs of flattening of the curve", a week after the National Cabinet escalated social distancing measures to unprecedented levels.

"That is an early positive sign. We have so much more work to do but, by people isolating ... Australians are rising magnificently to this challenge," Mr Hunt said.

The term "flatten the curve" refers to an epidemic graph, which is a chart used in epidemiology to visualise the onset of an outbreak.

It is a simple curve graph with the Y-axis showing the number of cases and the X-axis showing the time since the first case. There is a dotted line that shows the health care system's capacity.

Mr Morrison said this time last week, the rate of increase on cases was around 25 to 30 per cent a day.

"That rate is now over the last few days has fallen to about 13 to 15 per cent," Mr Morrison said.

But while most new cases of coronavirus in Australia are still imported, a growing number have no clear link to overseas travel, particularly in NSW.

A growing number of coronavirus cases in NSW were acquired locally or cause unknown. Picture: Department of Health website.

A growing number of coronavirus cases in NSW were acquired locally or cause unknown. Picture: Department of Health website.

Mr Morrison said as testing criteria broadened, more cases like this would emerge.

NSW and Victoria have been eyeing further restrictions on movement, ahead of the National Cabinet meeting on Sunday afternoon.

However the restrictions were having unintended social impacts, Mr Morrison said.

"Google has shown a 75 per cent increase in searches when it comes to concerns about domestic violence in recent days," he said.

READ MORE:

This was the highest increase in five years, with services already reporting an increase in demand.

The government announced a $1.1 billion package for the health and welfare sector to support vulnerable.

It includes a $150 million boost for programs under the National Plan to reduce Violence against Women and their Children, including 1800RESPECT and Mensline Australia.

It also includes a $669 million expansion of Medicare-subsidised telehealth services to include telephone and video consults for GP and other health services.

The GP bulk billing incentive will be doubled for GPs and an incentive payment set up to ensure practices stay open to provide face-to-face services when needed.

An extra $74 million will go towards mental health services, including $10 million will be provided to create a dedicated coronavirus wellbeing support line, delivered by Beyond Blue.

There will also be $200 million for organisations that provide emergency food relief including FoodBank, the Salvation Army and St Vincent De Paul.

"We anticipate the funding boost, which is more than four times annual funding, will help hundreds of thousands of Australians in most urgent need," Mr Morrison said.

We have removed our paywall from our stories about the coronavirus. This is a rapidly changing situation and we want to make sure our readers are as informed as possible. If you're looking to stay up to date on COVID-19, you can also sign up for our twice-daily digest here. If you would like to support our journalists you can subscribe here.

This story Early signs of curve flattening, as rate of new coronavirus cases slows first appeared on The Canberra Times.