State leaders are looking at tougher restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus as Australia’s COVID-19 death toll rises to 13.
However, top health officials say it could be one week until the effect of a second wave of shutdowns, which began on Thursday, is seen in reduced case numbers.
The number of confirmed cases in Australia has risen to 2,799 and health officials are begging Australians to stay at home if they are sick in any way, and to keep their distance from other people even if they’re healthy.
Australia has tested more than 178,000 people and deputy chief medical officer Paul Kelly says the rate of positive tests is low, at about 1.5 per cent.
The 370 new cases since Wednesday compares with a rise of 290 in the previous 24 hours.
Three Victorian men and one from Western Australia, all aged in their 70s, were confirmed on Thursday as Australia’s latest fatalities.
Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia joined Victoria and the ACT in moving school holidays forward to give teachers time to switch to online learning.
Teachers will still be at schools so parents who have essential jobs, such as healthcare workers and supermarket shelf-stackers, can send their children.
But all other students are being asked to stay home.
NSW and Victorian leaders are foreshadowing further moves, potentially including a full lockdown, if the increase in new cases doesn’t slow.