A 78-year-old man who was evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship has become the first recorded Australian fatality of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
The unnamed man and his wife were among 164 Australians who were flown out of Japan and placed in isolation in Howard Springs, before arriving back in Perth on February 21.
They were previously quarantined aboard the Diamond Princess, which sat at the Port of Yokohama in Japan for more than two weeks.
Per reports in The Age, the man passed away in Perth’s Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in the early hours of today. His wife, who also tested positive, remains hospitalised in isolation.
Meanwhile, authorities in Queensland are attempting to track down up to 40 people who attended a Gold Coast beauty salon where a technician was diagnosed with coronavirus.
The 63-year-old woman recently returned from Iran, and began to feel sick on Thursday, while working at the Hair Plus salon at Australia Fair shopping centre.
The state’s chief health officer said that the employee saw an estimated 40 clients, each session lasting less than 15 minutes. The risk from such “brief interactions” is said to be “incredibly low”.
The woman is isolated in hospital in stable condition, and has been commended for leaving work and getting tested as soon as she experienced her first symptom.
As of this weekend, the Diamond Princess cruise ship has recorded 705 cases of coronavirus among passengers, with ten recoveries and six deaths.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison enacted a coronavirus emergency response plan for Australia on Thursday.
An Iran travel ban came into force from today. Foreign nationals will be required to spend a fortnight in a third country before returning from Iran to Australia.
Citizens and permanent residents will be required to isolate themselves for a fortnight after returning from Iran, which has the highest COVID-19 mortality rate outside China.
The Australian government has also extended its ban on foreign nationals entering Australia after leaving China for two weeks.
Health authorities are currently considering travel advice for Italy, where the number of infections has risen to 1128 and the death toll stands at 29.