One more person has died from coronavirus in NSW, taking the state’s toll to 22, as residents were again reminded to stay at home during the Easter break.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard on Friday said a 69-year-old man had died in John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle.
“These are not just numbers, these are people whose families will be missing them today,” the minister told reporters in Sydney.
There have been 49 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, taking the NSW total to 2822.
Of those, 211 are in hospital with 29 patients in intensive care. Some 23 are being ventilated and one is having their organs oxygenated.
NSW residents have been urged to stay home over the Easter long weekend and adhere to the restrictions in place to limit the spread of coronavirus.
“Right around the state, police are reporting there’s a good deal of consideration and compliance with those requests around not travelling and social distancing,” NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys told reporters on Friday.
“The movement of people with caravans and holidaymakers with surfboards and camping gear – it is almost non-existent.”
Mr Worboys warned if drivers were pulled over this weekend and they didn’t have a good excuse to be on the road “you will be issued a $ 1000 fine”.
The assistant commissioner also reminded people that from Friday officers would issue $ 5000 fines to anyone who spits or coughs on an emergency services worker or staff in hospitals and pharmacies.
Health Services Union state secretary Gerard Hayes says the new fines are welcomed.
“If anybody out there thinks it’s funny, thinks it’s some kind of right of passage, to either spit at a health worker or cough on them to make them feel vulnerable, you’re a coward,” he told reporters.
“That’s all you are. This society, NSW, won’t tolerate it.”
Residents have been told they can’t attend church or religious services over Easter other than online.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Friday announced healthcare workers were being granted free parking at public hospital car parks “to ease the burden” as they worked around the clock.
“Our healthcare workers are on the frontline of our battle with COVID-19 and we need to do whatever we can to support them during this difficult time,” Ms Berejiklian said in a statement.
NSW on Thursday recorded just 39 new coronavirus cases – which was the smallest increase in infections since March 16.
The highest 24-hour increase was in late March when the state recorded 212 new coronavirus infections.
So far 53 people have died from COVID-19 across Australia.
Australian Associated Press