Bali reports first virus death


Australia's favourite island holiday destination has been hit with its first coronavirus death.

A 53-year-old British woman died from the COVID-19 disease in Bali on Wednesday, after falling ill and being admitted to a hospital in Denpasar last week.

Indonesian authorities said she had serious underlying health problems, including diabetes and lung disease, and it was unclear whether she contracted the virus before or after she arrived on the island late last month.

A total 34 cases of the coronavirus have now been confirmed across Indonesia, though scientists have questioned that figure. The country only reported its first case this month.

As of Wednesday evening, Australia had 128 cases, with 65 in New South Wales, 22 in Victoria, 20 in Queensland, 9 in both Western Australia and South Australia and 3 in Tasmania.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has now declared the global crisis a pandemic, saying it is "deeply concerned" by the alarming levels of spread, severity and inaction.

Australia should shut borders or face 'complete and utter epidemic'

Benjamin Graham

Australia should close its borders, shut schools and universities and cancel mass events or risk facing a "complete and utter coronavirus epidemic", an expert has warned.

Grattan Institute's chief executive John Daley called for Scott Morrison to follow Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore by introducing radical social distancing measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Mr Daley said while some approaches to the outbreak have impacted their economies, they had been successful in reducing virus cases.

Grattan Institute's chief executive John Daley

"One option is that we can introduce very significant social distancing now and also potentially close the airports to foreign travellers. The consequence of that would be you would probably see the number of cases in Australia drop to zero," he told The Australian.

"The second option is that you keep doing what we are doing at the moment. At some point it is likely that we will start to see significantly more person-to-person transmission in Australia."

Mr Daley warned if Australia keeps up its "non-stringent measures like Italy", our cases would climb "pretty quickly" and the fatality rate would skyrocket.

35m agoMarch 12, 2020

Three more cases confirmed in Victoria

Megan Palin

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Victoria continues to grow, with the state's emergency management authority now tasked with overseeing the response to the outbreak.

Another three Victorians were confirmed on Wednesday morning to have contracted the illness after returning from the United States.

Carey Baptist Grammar School in Melbourne's inner east later reported a second staff member had also tested positive to the virus, bringing the state's total cases to 22. Premier Daniel Andrews said the state control centre has started coordinating government agencies grappling with the outbreak, which has been categorised as a class two emergency.

Among the latest three infected people was a man in his 50s who became sick upon returning to Melbourne from Seattle via Virgin flight VA24 on Saturday. He is recovering with three family members - including two children - at home in quarantine.

The other two people travelled on flights UA0600 and QF94 and are understood to have contracted the virus while in the US.

-With wires

1h agoMarch 12, 2020HIGHLIGHT

British tourist dies in Bali from coronavirus

Alle McMahon

A British woman has died in Bali from the coronavirus, authorities say, marking Indonesia's first confirmed death from the rapidly spreading illness.

The 53-year-old died early on Wednesday in a hospital on the Indonesian holiday island, but it was unclear if she contracted the virus before or after arriving in Bali late last month, local officials said.

She was taken to hospital last week.

Indonesian health authorities said the woman had serious underlying health problems.

"The patient had severe illnesses including diabetes, hypertension, hyperthyroid and lung disease," Achmad Yurianto, a spokesman for the government's virus response team, told reporters in Jakarta.

The British embassy in Jakarta said it was "supporting the family of a British woman who has died in Indonesia and are in contact with local authorities".

Indonesia said its number of confirmed virus cases had now reached 34.

The Southeast Asian archipelago only reported its first novel coronavirus cases this month, as scientists questioned the relatively low rate of infections in the world's fourth most populous country.

The World Health Organisation has previously said it is particularly concerned about high-risk nations with weaker health systems that may lack the facilities to identify cases.

China remains the hardest-hit overall, with more than 80,000 cases and 3,000 deaths.


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