Coronavirus crisis: Australian death toll rises to 39

Coronavirus crisis: Australian death toll rises to 39

Another four people have died of coronavirus in Australia, bringing the national death toll to 39.

Two people in Victoria died overnight, taking the death toll from the illness in the state to 10.

A man in his 50s died in hospital and a woman in her 80s died at home from COVID-19 on Sunday, the state’s Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed.

Two elderly men also died in Sydney overnight as cases in NSW topped 2600.

NSW Health said on Monday the state had recorded 57 new cases, which was a drop on the previous day although that’s partly due to fewer tests being done over the weekend.

There are 40 people in intensive care units with 22 require ventilators.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian welcomed the fall in new cases but says those acquired through community transmission remains a concern.

The state’s total is now 2637 cases and the death toll has risen to 18 after an 86-year-old man and an 85-year-old man both died at Liverpool Hospital on Sunday.

The older man was a resident of the Opal Care Bankstown aged care facility, where five cases have been confirmed among residents and staff.

The 85-year-old-man was a close contact of another confirmed case.

The deaths come after NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller on Sunday announced an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the docking and disembarkation of passengers from the ill-fated Ruby Princess cruise ship.

The investigation - led by the NSW police homicide squad - aims to identify how passengers were allowed to disembark from the ship in Sydney, which is linked to 622 COVID-19 cases and at least 11 deaths across the country.

“The only way I can get to the bottom of whether our national biosecurity laws and our state laws were broken is through a criminal investigation,” Mr Fuller said.

Mr Fuller told reporters transparency regarding patient health on board the cruise ship was a key question for the investigation.

The ship will dock in Port Kembla, near Wollongong on Monday.

It’s expected to spend up to 10 days docked for medical assessments, treatment or emergency extractions of the crew, NSW Police say.

The investigation will cover the actions of the port authority, ambulance, police, the NSW Health department and Carnival Australia.

The NSW government on Sunday urged young people to take the COVID-19 pandemic seriously, revealing more than a quarter of the state’s current coronavirus cases are in people aged under 29.