Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy.
Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy.

Death toll rises amid warning over returning passengers

Australia's COVID-19 death toll has risen to 59 as Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy says Aussies returning on an evacuation flight will be a driver for infection rates.

NSW has recorded another coronavirus death - a man in his 80s, who had been in close contact with someone diagnosed with the virus.

The man had no link to the Ruby Princess cruise ship, NSW health authorities have confirmed.


In Tasmania, a woman in her 70s died at the North-West Regional Hospital in Burnie, Premier Peter Gutwein said.

In Adelaide, a 74-year-old man - a patient at the Royal Adelaide Hospital - has died as well, South Australia Health confirmed early Sunday.

"Our thoughts are with his family and friends," SA Health said.

The news comes as Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said he expected Australians returning to Melbourne on an evacuation flight from Uruguay on Sunday would be a driver for the national infection rate in the next week.

"There is no place in the world I would rather be than Australia at the moment," he said.

"Having said that … we cannot become complacent. We still have some community transmission.

"We are in a good place … but we have to maintain that good place.

"We will start to see a whole different way we interact, even when this is over, in terms of hand hygiene and distancing.

"The single biggest reason why we have not had a terrible outbreak of community transmission is we in Australia have got on top of those cases, two-thirds of whom have still been our citizens returning back from overseas, and these public health workers, in each of the state and territory health departments, who have done that."