Australia Warned of More Virus Deaths

July 12, 2020 Updated: July 12, 2020

The deputy chief medical officer has warned Australia’s death toll could rise further given the increasing numbers of COVID-19 infections in Victoria, and as worries mount over a potential cluster linked to a pub in Sydney.

Nick Coatsworth’s warning on July 12 came as a man in his 70s died in Victoria, taking the national death toll to 108. The state reported the death of a 90-year old man on Saturday.

“Deaths are a reality of COVID-19, they are the reality of a pandemic,” Coatsworth told reporters in Canberra.

“It is possible that the death toll will increase, there is no doubt about that.”

But he said Australia had learnt a lot during the pandemic and it had been able to avoid the large numbers of deaths seen overseas, particularly in elderly members of the community.

Victoria reported a further 279 COVID-19 cases, following on from 216 reported on Saturday and a record 288 infections on Friday. The state has recorded more than 1000 cases in the past week.

NSW recorded five new cases and authorities in the state are concerned about community transmission, especially a cluster from a Sydney pub.

An 18-year-old staffer has been confirmed among the now nine cases in The Crossroads Hotel cluster at Casula in Sydney’s southwest.

By contrast, the nation’s third largest state Queensland – which only last Friday reopened its borders after more than three months – reported another day of no new cases.

Western Australia was the only other jurisdiction to report a case, one recently returned traveller in hotel quarantine.

Colin Brinsden in Canberra