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What you need to know about COVID-19 today, Sunday April 12.

Australia’s death toll increases by 3 on Easter Sunday.

Australia’s death toll has risen to 59 after three new people died after testing positive to COVID-19 on Easter Sunday.

A woman in her 70s succumbed to the virus at North West Regional Hospital in Tasmania, Premier Peter Gutwein confirmed on Sunday.

In NSW, an 82-year-old man died at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital overnight, with NSW Health acting director Dr Christine Selvey telling reporters on Sunday the man was in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case.

A South Australian man has also died from COVID-19 after contracting the virus on the Ruby Princess cruise ship. The 74-year-old man succumbed to the infection in the Royal Adelaide Hospital overnight, SA Health confirmed on Sunday.

The national death toll now stands at 59, with the number of confirmed cases in Australia at 6,303. This morning there were 51 more cases than yesterday, the Australian Government states.

More than a dozen Ruby Princess passengers have died from the virus, and more than 500 people have been infected, either onboard or from contact with people who were.

Victoria extends state of emergency to May 11.

Victoria’s state of emergency has been extended for a further four weeks, as a plane carrying more than 100 stranded cruise ship passengers infected with COVID-19 touched down in the state.

The flight from Uruguay landed at Melbourne Airport just before 7am on Sunday, carrying about 112 Australian and New Zealand passengers from the Greg Mortimer cruise ship.

The ship had been stranded in the South American nation for more than two weeks, after leaving Argentina on March 15 for a 16-day return trip to Antarctica.

About 70 per cent of passengers on board the flight have been diagnosed with coronavirus, though only one was taken to hospital for treatment, the state’s deputy chief health officer confirmed.

Mr Andrews announced Victoria’s state of emergency will be extended until midnight on May 11, with measures designed to “flatten the curve” of coronavirus likely to remain in place well past that date.

With just three new cases of coronavirus recorded on Sunday, the premier said restrictions were working.

“We are aggressively tracing our outbreaks, and making sure this virus does not get away from us,” he said.

“If it does, our health system will simply be overrun and people will die.”

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Victoria’s total recorded COVID-19 cases stands at 1268, with 14 deaths.

“Coronavirus will not overcome us.” Queen delivers surprise Easter address.

The Queen has stressed the importance of maintaining the coronavirus lockdown during the Easter holiday weekend, saying “by keeping apart we keep others safe”.

With the COVID-19 outbreak making church services impossible, the Queen has delivered what is believed to be her first Easter address.

“This year, Easter will be different for many of us, but by keeping apart we keep others safe,” the Queen said in the speech, recorded at Windsor Castle on Good Friday.

“But Easter isn’t cancelled; indeed, we need Easter as much as ever.”

The monarch said just as the discovery of the risen Christ gave his followers new hope and fresh purpose, all can take heart from this message.

“We know that coronavirus will not overcome us,” the Queen said.

“As dark as death can be – particularly for those suffering with grief – light and life are greater.

“May the living flame of the Easter hope be a steady guide as we face the future.”

The speech came after the Queen’s televised address to Britons last Sunday when she said the country would overcome the virus by remaining united.

The latest figures from the UK’s Department of Health reveal a total of 9875 patients have died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus on Friday, up by 917 on the day before.

US COVID-19 death toll surpasses Italy to become highest in the world.

US coronavirus deaths have surpassed 20,000, the highest reported number in the world, although there are signs the pandemic may be nearing a peak.

Italy has the second most reported deaths at 19,468 and Spain is third with 16,353.

The US has five times the population of Italy and nearly seven times the population of Spain.

The US has seen its highest daily death tolls to date in the epidemic with roughly 2000 deaths a day reported for the past four days in a row.

Public health experts have warned that the US death toll could spike to 200,000 over the summer if unprecedented stay-at-home orders that have closed businesses and kept most Americans indoors are lifted after 30 days.

The stay-at-home orders imposed in recent weeks across 42 of the 50 states have taken a huge toll on American commerce, with some economists forecasting job losses of up to 20 million by month’s end.

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Globally, there have been more than 1.6 million confirmed cases, with the death toll surpassing 106,000.

Coronavirus vaccine could be available by September.

coronavirus australia easter update
A vaccine for coronavirus could be ready by September, experts say. Image: Getty.

A coronavirus vaccine could be available for the general public by September, an Oxford professor has claimed.

Sarah Gilbert, a professor of vaccinology at Oxford University, is leading a team of researchers in the development of a vaccine that would protect the world against COVID-19.

In an interview with The Times, the professor said that she and her team have already created a potential vaccine that is due to begin human trials within two weeks.

She told the paper she is "80 per cent" confident of its success, "based on other things that we have done with this type of vaccine".

Most industry experts say that a vaccine could take as long as 18 months to be developed and distributed globally.

However, Professor Gilbert believes that by letting volunteers from places that have not imposed lockdown measures become infected naturally as soon as possible, will accelerate the clinical trial process.

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"If one of those (places) turns out to have a high rate of virus transmission then we will get our efficacy results very quickly, so that is one strategy for reducing the time," she said.

"Total lockdowns do make it harder. But we don't want the herd immunity either. We want them to be susceptible and exposed for the trials purely to test the efficacy."

In order for the vaccine to be distributed in the autumn, Professor Gilbert says the Government will need to start production before it is proven to work.

She told the paper: "We don't want to get to later this year and discover we have a highly effective vaccine and we haven't got any vaccine to use."

"It's a free country." Cross-NSW traveller, 'freedom lover' fined in Easter crackdown.

A Sydney woman who told police "it's a free country" and a man visiting people across NSW are among the latest hit with $1000 on-the-spot fines for breaching COVID-19 restrictions.

The 32-year-old woman, who was officially warned on Thursday after leaving home without excuse, was found in the middle of Belvoir Street in Surry Hills on Friday.

Asked why she was out, police on Saturday said she replied, "It's a free country," and offered no valid reason.

She was among 50 people ticketed by NSW Police in the past two days, taking the total number of people fined since March 17 to 295.

In Queensland, police have issued more than 460 fines for coronavirus-related transgressions, raking in more than half a million dollars for the state government.

Read more: 

- With AAP. 

To protect yourself and the community from COVID-19, remain in your home unless strictly necessary, 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.

Feature Image: Getty.


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