Australia reports first coronavirus death in more than a month; total cases cross 7,500

Australia reported its first coronavirus death in more than a month on Wednesday, taking the Covid-19 toll in the country to 103 with 7,521 confirmed cases.

The new virus casualty is an 80-year-old man in Victoria state. Australia has recorded 30 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours — 20 cases in Victoria and 10 in New South Wales.

No new coronavirus infection has been recorded in Queensland for the seventh straight day.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said, “Seven (cases) are linked to known outbreaks. One has been detected in hotel quarantine. Nine through routine testing and three other cases are under investigation.” The official said there was a risk of more cases being hospitalised. He said there were 141 active cases in the state with over 1,000 close contacts needing to be traced.

“It certainly means we’re not getting an increase or an exponential increase in community transmission cases day by day,” Sutton said.

Health Minister Greg Hunt has said Australia is “as well prepared as any nation in the world” to stop the spread of coronavirus, but warned Melbourne residents to be diligent in following health norms.

Earlier, Victoria Health Minister Jenny Mikakos indicated the state’s effective reproduction number (Reff), which calculates the rate of virus transmission per person, had rose to about 2.5 in the past week from below 1.

Sutton said authorities wanted to keep Victoria’s effective reproduction number below one.

“When it’s at two it means the active cases we have are doubling with each generation,” he said.

“We have seen the community transmission figures go from single figures [of cases] to above ten. So it’s no surprise the Reff is at two or above.

“But with the stabilisation in numbers in the last two days I expect that that will go back down and I absolutely hope that we can get it below one and drive those numbers back down to zero,” the minister said.

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