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Coronavirus disaster: Australian death toll rises to 34 after four more deaths in NSW

Four more people have died from coronavirus in NSW, bringing the state’s death toll to 16 and the total across Australia to 34.

The deaths were all men, aged 61, 76, 80, and 91, NSW Health protection executive director Dr Jeremy McAnulty confirmed on Sunday.

“Our condolences go to the families,” Mr McAnulty told reporters in Sydney.

“That brings a total of 16 deaths in NSW.”

In the 24 hours to 8pm last night, NSW recorded 87 new cases, bringing the state’s total to 2580, Health Minister Brad Hazzard told reporters on Sunday.

Australians have been urged not to get carried away as the rate of new coronavirus cases slows, with the deputy chief medical officer insisting the health crisis is not over.

There were 5544 cases of COVID-19 across the country as of Saturday, with two deaths yesterday after a woman in her 70s died in Victoria, and the death of a man in his 80s at Canberra Hospital.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly said the daily rate of case increases is less than they were a week ago, and reflect measures taken to stop the spread of the virus.

But he urged against thinking Australia was through the crisis, insisting we were “definitely” not.

It comes as Health Minister Greg Hunt said the government is providing $220 million to upgrade a CSIRO biosecurity research facility in Geelong to assist testing for a potential COVID-19 vaccine.

Meanwhile, the NSW government is under fire over its handling of the Ruby Princess cruise liner, which allowed more than 2000 travellers to disembark in Sydney, many of whom are thought to have assisted the spread of COVID-19.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard defended the government’s actions, saying the experts who made the decision are the “best in the world”.

In Queensland, five men have been charged for non-essential travel to a remote community in the north of the state.

It comes as some Victorians continue to flout coronavirus restrictions, with police slapping 25 more people with fines.

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