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NSW coronavirus death toll rises by two

Two more people have died in NSW from COVID-19, including an elderly man who contracted the virus while on a cruise ship.

The state’s death toll stands at 28 after an 83-year-old Queensland man and a 58-year-old woman died.

The man was a passenger on board the Celebrity Eclipse during a cruise to South America and died in Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

The woman died in Tamworth Hospital and authorities are attempting to trace how she contracted the virus.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said he was buoyed as just 10 new cases of the virus were diagnosed in the state in the 24 hours to 8pm Friday, despite an increase in testing.

After 26 cases were recorded the day prior, it takes the total number of cases in the state to 2936.

“It is certainly positive but there has been a reduction in a number of cases and it is particularly positive, having in mind that the number of tests that were done dramatically increased to 5152 tests,” Mr Hazzard said.

It came as NSW Police revealed that the Ruby Princess cruise ship which is docked at Port Kembla is unlikely to leave the state’s waters until next week.

The government is under fire for its handling of the saga and a NSW Police investigation is underway after 2647 passengers were allowed to disembark at Sydney Harbour on March 19.

It remains docked with about 1000 passengers and crew on board.

After nine additional positive cases overnight, there are now 162 cases amongst the ship’s on-board crew with another 13 in health facilities.

It was anticipated that the ship would depart on Sunday, however NSW Police assistant commissioner Karen Webb said the chances of that were “remote”.

“We are still working through getting the results on the testing of the crew,” she said.

“We are yet to get to a point where we can say that the crew are well enough to travel.”

Meanwhile, NSW Health figures revealed that people under 40 represented 1238 of the total 2936 cases in NSW and most are in the 20-29 years age bracket.

“You have to get the message guys, this is not the time for partying,” Mr Hazzard said.

“It is not the time for hanging out in large groups. We are serious about the message and that is stay safe and stick to the rules, stick to the 1.5m social distancing.”

Originally published as NSW coronavirus death toll rises by two

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