Coronavirus cases rise overnight as NSW’s total hits 36


It brings the state’s total to 36, the highest in the country, after another six cases were confirmed Friday night.

The two new cases include a man in his 60s, who recently returned from Italy and is currently under investigation, and a second man in his 40s who is a friend of a previously confirmed case. He had travelled on return Sydney to Canberra flights on February 28.

NSW Health is asking anyone seated in rows 2-6 in the first flight (Sydney to Canberra) or rows 3-7 in the second flight (Canberra to Sydney) to self-isolate and call their local public health unit for guidance.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian urged anyone feeling unwell to stay home and said the state’s health system was on high alert.

“We are anticipating this virus will have a concerning phase of a number of months ahead of us,” Ms Berejiklian said.

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Premier of NSW Gladys Berejiklian spoke at a press conference yesterday. Picture: Bianca De MarchiSource:AAP

The total number of coronavirus cases in Australia now stands at 74, with 14 in Queensland, 11 in Victoria, seven in South Australia, three in WA, two in Tasmania and one in Northern Territory.

It comes as the doctor in Victoria who was diagnosed with coronavirus after treating up to 70 patients has been identified as Australian musician Missy Higgins’ father.

The Herald Sun has identified Dr Chris Higgins as the Melbourne doctor from the Toorak Clinic, who is at the centre of new reports after he was confirmed to have the potentially deadly virus last night.

It was reported he had treated at least 70 patients at his clinic and saw two others at a nursing home.

Missy Higgins with her father Chris Higgins. Picture: Facebook

Missy Higgins with her father Chris Higgins. Picture: FacebookSource:Supplied

Mr Higgins addressed the report on Facebook, replying on a virus update posted by Victorian health minister Jenny Mikakos, who told the media today she was “flabbergasted” he returned to work. She did not directly name him.

Mr Higgins said he didn’t imagine “for one moment” he had coronavirus.

Dr Chris Higgins' post on Facebook.

Dr Chris Higgins’ post on Facebook.Source:Facebook

Victorian Health authorities have been in touch with those who came in contact with him, urging them to self-isolate for 14 days.

Meanwhile, Epping Boys High School will reopen on Monday after initial fears it could remain closed for up to a fortnight when a student tested positive for COVID -19.

The 16-year-old student is the son of a Ryde Hospital healthcare worker who had contact with the 53-year-old male doctor who has the coronavirus. A NSW Health spokeswoman on Saturday said authorities are still investigating how the boy contracted the virus, as they continue to wait for the mother’s test results.

NSW Health confirmed Epping Boys Highschool was closed on Friday. Picture: Brook Mitchell/Getty Images

NSW Health confirmed Epping Boys Highschool was closed on Friday. Picture: Brook Mitchell/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

A statement from the NSW Department of Education posted on the school’s Facebook page says students and staff identified as “close contacts” of the boy have been asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

A close contact is a person who has spent significant time face-to-face (15 minutes) or in an enclosed space (two hours or more).

“The school will promote the need for staff and students to remain at home if they are unwell. Those who become unwell will be sent home and asked to remain away until they are well,” the statement posted on Saturday reads. The school will be thoroughly cleaned before reopening on Monday and says it will implement “the department’s infection control procedures”, promoting healthy hygiene habits, upholding daily cleaning routines, and providing hand sanitiser for staff and students on school grounds.



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