What you need to know about COVID-19 today, Sunday March 22.

— With AAP.

Australian coronavirus cases surges to at least 1316.

As of Sunday afternoon, March 22, there are 1316 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in Australia. Every few hours, that number continues to rise.

At the time of reporting, there are 533 cases in New South Wales – the epicentre of coronavirus in Australia. There are 296 cases in Victoria, 259 cases in Queensland, 120 in Western Australia, 67 in South Australia, 19 in the ACT, 17 in Tasmania and five in the Northern Territory.

Globally, there are over 304,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and the number of deaths has now surpassed 13,000. Over 94,000 people have recovered.

An Australian lockdown could be imminent.

The New South Wales and Victorian governments have announced they will be implementing a shutdown of all non-essential services in the next 48 hours.

The Victorian government will also shut schools from Tuesday before school holidays are due to begin.

It is understood this will be discussed during the national cabinet meeting on Sunday night.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has also confirmed that she will implement a NSW lockdown.

“Supermarkets, petrol stations, pharmacies, convenience stores, freight and logistics, and home delivery will be among the many services that will remain open,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

“Schools will be open tomorrow, though I will have more to say on this issue in the morning.”


The Morrison Government has so far resisted implementing a nationwide lockdown, with the Prime Minister stating they are looking at more sustainable approaches.

On Sunday, Scott Morrison did announce a ban on all non-essential travel within Australia, including interstate travel.

Australian states close their borders.

South Australia and Western Australia are the most recent states to announce they will effectively close their borders in a desperate effort to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

WA Premier Mark McGowan announced entry to WA would be restricted via road, rail, air and sea from 1.30pm on Tuesday, with exemptions for essential services and trucking.

“These are extreme steps but these are extreme days,” he told reporters on Sunday, as 30 new cases were confirmed, bringing the state’s total to 120.

McGowan told tourists planning to travel to WA to cancel.

SA Premier Steven Marshall also announced on Sunday that anyone entering SA would be subject to a mandatory 14-day isolation period.

The new measures will take effect from 4pm on Tuesday and will similarly not affect the state’s essential services.

“The health of South Australians is unquestionably our number one priority and that is why we are acting swiftly and decisively to protect them from the impact of this disease,” he said.

South Australia’s announcement comes after similar restrictions were put in place in Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

AFL season halted.

The 2020 AFL premiership season has been shut down in response to new coronavirus measures put in place by federal and state governments.

Round one was only given the green light 24 hours before the season opener, and league chief executive Gillon McLachlan announced on Sunday the competition would pause until May 31.

The AFLW season has been abandoned ahead of the preliminary finals after Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s call for people to cancel all non-essential travel within Australia.


Italy virus death rate rises by 793 in one day.

The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has leapt by 793 to 4825.

Authorities report that is an increase of 19.6 per cent in just 24 hours – by far the largest daily rise anywhere in the world since the virus emerged.

On Thursday, Italy overtook China as the country to register the most deaths from the highly contagious virus.

The total number of cases in Italy rose to 53,578 from a previous 47,021, the Civil Protection Agency said.

WATCH: Some of your questions about the virus, answered. Post continues after video.

Video by Mamamia

Businesses to receive $66 billion aid in face of coronavirus.

An additional $66 billion is being splurged on the economy to help Australian businesses and workers stay afloat during the coronavirus crisis.

The Morrison government announced its second set of stimulus measures, just 10 days after it first moved to diminish the economic blow of the virus and the measures to combat it.

Already, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann is flagging a third round of stimulus.

“We do believe that we may need to do more… We do need to keep some shot in the locker,” Senator Cormann told Sky News on Sunday.


Sunday’s package includes a significant expansion of the wage-based cash payments to small businesses already announced.

Small and medium businesses and not-for-profits who employ people will now receive a full rebate on income tax with holdings of up to $100,000.

They’ll all get a minimum of $20,000 – 10 times the amount announced previously.

This is expected to help some 690,000 businesses employing about 7.8 million people, along with 30,000 not-for-profits who weren’t previously set to receive the cash flow injection.

It will inject an extra $25.2 billion into the cash flow of businesses, on top of the $6.7 billion already announced.

“There is a lot of pain coming but we’re going to cushion the blow as best we can,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

“In the event that someone does regrettably lose their job because of the coronavirus, it’s very important that business give their workers the confidence that this is just temporary and… when they reopen their doors and get back to business, that they will want to get them back on the payroll as soon as possible.”

Feature Image: Getty.

Previous update:

What you need to know about COVID-19 today, Saturday March 21.

Read more about COVID-19:

The Australian Government Department of Health advises that the only people who will be tested for COVID-19 are those with symptoms who have either returned from overseas in the past 14 days or been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case in the past 14 days.

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.

The current situation around COVID-19 might be making you feel scared or uncertain. It’s okay to feel this way, but it’s also important to learn how to manage feelings of anxiety during this time. To download the free PDF: Anxiety & Coronavirus – How to Manage Feelings of Anxiety click here.

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