Another Ruby Princess passenger dies, national toll now 35

ANOTHER Ruby Princess passenger has died from coronavirus.

Queensland Health tonight confirmed a fifth Queenslander has passed away from the deadly virus.

"The 78-year-old with underlying medical conditions died in The Prince Charles Hospital," a statement said.

"The man contracted the disease after recently returning from a cruise.

"Queensland Health offers its sincere condolences to his family."

ABC reported the cruise was the Ruby Princess which docked in Sydney on March 18 before thousands of passengers disembarked.

At least 11 of the nation's 35 coronavirus deaths were people who travelled on the vessel.

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Australia now stands at 5689.

There are 2580 cases in NSW, 1135 in Victoria, 907 in Queensland, 453 in Western Australia, 409 in South Australia, 96 in the Australian Capital Territory, 82 in Tasmania and 27 in the Northern Territory.

The national death toll stands at 35. Four of the five deaths reported on Sunday were people who travelled on the Ruby Princess.

 

PREMIER'S WARNING DESPITE SMALL CASE RISE

QUEENSLAND has recorded an extra nine cases of COVID-19, the lowest rise in weeks.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today announced total cases were now 907, as she thanked those were doing the right thing but foreshadowed tougher measures if some continued to flout rules.

"Well done Queensland, we've got a long way to go but these signs are very encouraging to have only 9 cases overnight," she said.

"That's our lowest that we've seen in many, many weeks.

"So it goes to show that all the measures we've put in place are having an impact.

"Out of that 907, 119 are linked to cruise ships. So, that goes to show the impact that the cruise ships that have come into Australia are having on Queensland totals."

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk provides an update on Queensland’s coronavirus crisis. Picture: John Gass
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk provides an update on Queensland’s coronavirus crisis. Picture: John Gass

 

Despite the fall in infections, Queensland will not be relaxing restrictions or reopening the border, the Premier said.

"This is not going to end internationally, nationally or even by state until there is a vaccine," she said.

"Queenslanders are doing the right thing, we are seeing that number come down for the positive cases and that means the social distancing and stopping of mass movements and gathering is working.

"Any relaxation of measures may increase the number of cases as well."

The Premier back this up with comments about The Courier-Mail story showing pictures of people crammed in at the Powerhouse farmers' markets on Saturday.

"Guys, that's not on and if I see that again, they're going to be shut down immediately," she said.

"So I'm going to be talking to the Police Commissioner and if that happens again they're going to be shut down because people are not observing social distancing."

Ms Palaszczuk said organisers would be spoken to because it was her hope that fresh food markets could continue.

"It is not a chance to go down for an outing, you should only be going down there if you intend to purchase fresh produce … I'm giving my last warning," she said.

Earlier, Queensland's health minister urged the state's residents to show their appreciation for frontline workers' handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Health Minister Steven Miles said doctors, nurses and paramedics had been working hard to protect the state from COVID-19.

"They are working tirelessly, around the clock to make sure we are all safe. They do because they are passionate about caring for us," he said.

"(So) if you are standing behind them in the queue at a cafe, shout them their coffee. Do something nice for them."


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