MELBOURNE—The rate of spread of the novel coronavirus in Australia has halved in recent days, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday as he announced an additional A$1.1 billion ($680 million) to expand telemedicine care and other health services.
The daily increase in cases in recent days was at about 13-15 percent, down from 25-30 percent seen a week ago, showing social distancing measures were working, Morrison said.
“These are still strong rates of increase, no doubt about that,” Morrison said in televised remarks.
There were 3,809 confirmed cases in Australia early on Sunday, 431 more than in the previous day, according to health ministry. Sixteen deaths were attributable to the virus, health officials said.
Neighboring New Zealand saw its first death related to the coronavirus on Sunday, with cases rising to 514 confirmed infections.
Two-thirds of the cases in Australia have been traced to contact with people returning from overseas, government officials said.
State leaders, however, are worried about the recent rise in community transmission, especially in the most populous New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria, where more than half of Australias 25.5 million people live.
Australia has introduced a series of measures to combat the spread of Covid-19, but state and federal governments have sent some mixed messages about social distancing and other containment measures, leading to widespread confusion.
Morrison said on Sunday that all of Australias six states and two territories were working to keep actions consistent, but rising case numbers may require individual states to take additional actions “sooner than other states.”
Australian media reported on Sunday a number of fines were given to people for breaching quarantines after states moved last week to implement ad hoc fines and even jail terms for individuals and businesses not complying with the rules.
Morrison also said that additional money will be spent on telemedicine care options, domestic violence support and mental healRead More – Source