PORT MACQUARIE MAN AMONG THE LATEST TO SUCCUMB TO COVID-19

An elderly man from Port Macquarie is among the latest people to die from Coronavirus in New South Wales.

The 91-year-old passed away in Port Macquarie hospital overnight.

There were three other deaths in the past 24 hours: a 61-year-old at Hornsby Hospital and two people at Westmead Hospital, an 80-year-old and a 76-year-old.

NSW Health confirmed three of the four overnight deaths were linked to the embattled Ruby Princess cruise ship.

The virus has now claimed the lives of 16 people in New South Wales, nearly half the national death toll, which currently stands at 34.

“This is a highly transmissible infection, everyone is vulnerable at the moment,” said NSW Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr Jeremy McAnulty.

Despite the sad news overnight, there are promising signs in New South Wales, with the number of new cases significantly down from the past few days.

87 new cases were detected overnight, 17 less than yesterday.

The NSW Deputy Chief Medical Officer said today’s increase demonstrated a “stablisation of cases” but tough social distancing measures must remain in place.

“We want to be hopeful but we don’t want to over-read the figures,” said Dr MacAnulty.

“We’ve seen overseas figures improve, people relax the measures and then an upswing in cases.”

“We need a longer term trend, we’d like to see these numbers further decline.”

Health Minister, Brad Hazzard, today urged everyone, especially young people, to take the pandemic seriously.

“For those people who think this is something you can flick away, no its not,” Mr Hazzard said.

“For those young people, I keep hearing meessage that young people wont think this will affect them.”

“It will affect young people and it is affecting young people.”

“Take it seriously is my message to young people.”

Of the 2580 confirmed coronavirus cases in New South Wales, one quarter of them are people under the age of 29.

Three people, aged in their 30s, are being treated in Intensive Care with ventilators.

Mr Hazzard also cautioned Sydney-siders against travelling to holiday houses for the Easter Long Weekend.

“We are seeing people heading to the Central Coast, the North Coast,” Mr Hazzard said. “Its appalling.”

“If you’ve headed off for a sneaky little holiday, my message to you is go home.”

NSW Health is concerned if city folk inundate holiday hot spots, potential outbreaks could occur in areas not equipped to fight the virus.

“Our regional hospitals are very good regional hospitals, but not all of them are set up with ICUs”

“Hopefully this is the one year in their entire lives where this will happen, so just go home.”

“Don’t take a sneaky holiday, don’t put everybody at risk”