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Australia's death toll climbs to 65 and everything else you need to know about COVID-19 today, Friday April 17.

Australia’s death toll climbs to 65.

A crew member from the coronavirus-plagued Artania cruise ship has died in a Perth hospital, taking Western Australia’s COVID-19 death toll to seven and the national toll to 65.

The state’s Health Minister Roger Cook said the man from the Philippines died at Royal Perth Hospital on Thursday. At 42, he is the youngest victim of the virus in Australia.

“His family have been notified and were put in contact with that crew member via translators and the shipping company, and they were able to reach out to him in his dying days,” Mr Cook told reporters on Friday.

“My thoughts and sympathies are with his family and friends and fellow crew members in what must undoubtedly be a very difficult time for them.”

In total, WA has recorded 219 positive tests among people linked to cruise ships, including 79 from the Artania and 53 from the Ruby Princess.

The Artania remains docked in Fremantle but the German liner is expected to leave on Saturday.

Premier Mark McGowan said the man’s passing was very sad, but it was still in the interests of everyone for the ship to leave as soon as possible.

“The Commonwealth has issued them with a directive to leave tomorrow,” he told reporters.

“If I was a crew member of that ship I would want to get home.”

The news of the man’s death followed that of a 72-year-old man who passed away in a Tasmanian hospital on Friday morning.

Newborn tests positive in NSW.

A seven-week-old baby boy is among the 29 new NSW cases of coronavirus, officials confirmed this morning.

“We’ve had a seven-week-old baby boy who has tested covid positive and the baby is a close contact of known cases,” said NSW Chief Medical Officer Kerry Chant.

“The source of that infection for that family cluster is not known but the patient was admitted to hospital and assessed but was actually not admitted.”

NSW also confirmed they are upgrading some of the state’s hospitals to cope with COVID 19 patients who have left ICU.

93 per cent of cases in Australia identified.

Ninety three per cent of all symptomatic cases of coronavirus in Australia are probably identified, according to fresh modelling.

It also predicts that every 10 cases of coronavirus in Australia will produce just five more fresh infections.

“Our best estimate at the moment in Australia is for every 10 infectious cases, they’re only reproducing another five and this shows our epidemic at the moment is in decline,” the Doherty Institute’s epidemiology director Professor Jodie McVernon said.

WATCH: The Prime Minister’s latest press conference. Post continues after video.

Video by 9News
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“That’s great because it shows the public health measures that have been in place have been very effective in limiting the spread of this disease. But it doesn’t let us be complacent.”

Prof McVernon warned that if the current measures were relaxed too early, every 10 cases would create another 25 over the course of the infection.

The latest modelling does not rule out small localised outbreaks, which cannot be reliably predicted, or changes to human behaviour.

“The real danger is back to life as normal discussion because that cannot happen for a very long time,” Prof McVernon said.

“We just need to get that in our consciousness as a society.”

Australia’s death toll has reached 63 and there are 6468 current cases nationally.

The 135 Aussie areas that could be reopened now.

A leading immunologist has suggested rural areas in regional Australia could safely come out of lockdown and return to normal life.

The Australian reports there are 135 regions and local government areas throughout the country that remain coronavirus-free.

Most are small regional towns like Forbes, Gilgandra and Bourke in NSW, Flinders Range and Franklin Harbour in South Australia, the Torres Strait and Cape York communities in QLD and 76 areas in tightly locked down WA.

Professor Ian Frazer says regions within states could be locked off from other parts of the state and then safely return to a more normal existence.

“Why can’t I sit at the park?” The PM is quizzed on inconsistencies.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been quizzed by the ABC 7:30 program’s Leigh Sales about inconsistencies in the current restrictions.

“Why can’t I sit in a park by myself and read a book, but I can go on a bus with other people?” Sales asked him last night.

Morrison replied: “We are in unprecedented, unchartered times. I think people have been very understanding of these issues. And I think everyone’s working to try and get these issues as consistent as they can. And that’s why when we get that co-operation, when we can get co-operation on this tracing app when it comes out, then I know a lot of these issues will move away because we’ve got the tools in place to be able to track these things down very quickly and respond.”

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Leigh Sales Josh Frydenberg
Leigh Sales has quizzed the PM on inconsistencies with the rules. Image: ABC.

Sales then asked why elderly school teachers can see “other people’s children” but not their own grandchildren.

“Well, I made the point before that people who are in those more sensitive cohorts, those who are more vulnerable, then there is advice which is suggesting those individuals should be constrained from their access to others,” Mr Morrison said.

Aussies looking at another month in lockdown.

The Prime Minister gave some updates yesterday afternoon about the current state of restrictions. Here's a brief overview. You can read about his announcements in full here. 

  • While plans are being made to ease restrictions, the current social distancing measures will stay in place for at least the next four weeks.
  • They're working on a more extensive testing regime, an even greater tracing capability, and increased localised lockdown ability.
scott morrison coronavirus press conference
The Prime Minister gave an update on lockdown measures yesterday. Image: ABC.
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  • The government keep telling us "six months," the Prime Minister explains that "This is the June and September quarter. I have always considered the six months, the period in which we have been operating and will operate these lifeline measures in the economy, which is JobSeeker with the JobSeeker supplement, and JobKeeper."
  • Scott Morrison anticipates that regular sittings of parliament will return next month.
  • Morrison said the promises made over the election period need to be reconsidered amid the coronavirus pandemic.

230 new ICU beds for Victoria, and NSW nursing home cases increase.

230 intensive care beds have been installed at hospitals across Victoria, allowing the state to increase ICU capacity to 4000 beds and recommission buildings no longer in use to help fight the virus.

Currently there are 39 Victorians in hospital with the virus, including 18 in intensive care.

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230 ICU beds added in Victoria. Image: Getty.

In NSW, a nursing home in Sydney is grappling with an outbreak, with 15 people linked to the facility now testing positive.

Nine residents and six staff at the Anglicare Newmarch House in Caddens have COVID-19, after an employee attended work with respiratory symptoms for a week before being tested.

Prince Harry's tribute to parents.

Prince Harry is a patron of WellChild, a British charity supporting children suffering from serious illnesses, and he spoke to parents and nurses via a video call.

He reflected on his own time as a new father to Archie, born last May, as he asked parents about lockdown in Britain.

"It's certainly strange times... full respect to every single one of you, because this is hard on everyone, but it is especially hard on you," he said.

Prince harry Wellchild
Prince Harry on a video call talking about parenting in lockdown. Image: Wellchild.
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"Of course there's going to be hard days. I can't even begin to imagine how hard it is for you guys. Having one kid, at 11 months old, is tough, so to see what you guys are going through on a day-to-day basis, honestly so much respect to every single one of you."

Harry moved to Los Angeles earlier this year with his American wife Meghan, after the couple gave up their roles as working members of Britain's royal family.

He said that one positive of the lockdown might be having time to spend with the family - "so much family that you almost think, do I feel guilty for having so much family time?" - and added that it was important to appreciate positive moments when harder times inevitably lay ahead.

"You've got to celebrate those moments where you're just on the floor, rolling around in hysterics because of something that's happened, and inevitably, half an hour later, maybe a day later, there's going to be something that you have to deal with, and there's no way that you can run away from it," he said.

"As long as you guys are looking after yourselves and looking after each other, that is the best that you can do."

UK extends lockdown by at least three weeks.

Britain has extended its nationwide coronavirus lockdown, with stand-in leader Dominic Raab saying "we've just come too far, we've lost to many, we've sacrificed far too much to ease up now".

Raab chaired an emergency meeting overnight to review scientific evidence on the impact of the existing lockdown.

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"Based on this advice... the government has decided that the current measures must remain in place for at least three weeks. Relaxing any of the measures currently in place would risk damage to both public health and the economy."

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is still recovering from COVID-19 complications which put him in the ICU.

Virgin to resume some flights.

Virgin Australia will be able to reinstate some of its staff as it resumes limited domestic flights at the federal government's request.

The airline will from today resume a domestic schedule, underwritten by the federal government, for eight weeks.

It means Virgin will reinstate some of the flight, cabin and ground crew and other operational staff it stood down during the COVID-19 fallout.

Virgin airlines restarting
Some Virgin flights are restarting. Image: Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty.

"As a major Australian airline, we are proud to support the federal government in returning passengers home and enabling essential travellers to continue flying during this time," Virgin said.

The flights will service most Australian capital cities and a number of regional airports including Broome, Kalgoorlie, the Gold Coast, Mackay, Cairns and Townsville.

The airline is already operating international repatriation flights to Los Angeles and Hong Kong at the government's request, as well as transporting transport cargo and providing charter services.

Trump outlines phased reopening of America.

New White House guidelines outline a phased approach to restoring normal commerce and services, but only for places with strong testing and a decrease in COVID-19 cases.

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US President Donald Trump unveiled his administration's plans to ease social distancing requirements on a call with the nation's governors on Thursday.

when will coronavirus peak in australia
Trump's plan for a reopening not as sudden as he once announced. Image: Win McNamee/Getty.

Areas with declining infections and strong testing would begin a three-phased gradual reopening of businesses and schools, with each phase lasting at least 14 days.

The recommendations make clear that the return to normalcy will be a far longer process than Trump initially envisioned, with federal officials warning that some social distancing measures may need to remain in place through the end of the year to prevent a new outbreak.

- With AAP

Feature image: AAP/WellChild.

To protect yourself and the community from COVID-19, keep at least 1.5 metres away from other people, regularly wash your hands and avoid touching your face.

If you are sick and believe you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your GP ahead of time to book an appointment. Or call the national Coronavirus Health Information Line for advice on 1800 020 080. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.

To keep up to date with the latest information, please visit the Department of Health website.

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