Currently in Australia there are 401 cases of COVID-19, with 171 in NSW. Here are the top coronavirus headlines of the past week.

Victoria & Tasmania declare state of emergency

On Monday, Victoria declared an ‘unprecedented’ state of emergency to respond to the coronavirus outbreak and Tasmania followed suit. This gives both States power to enforce a mandatory self-quarantine period for returning travellers and well as banning gatherings of more than 500 people. Declaring a state of emergency also allows health officials the power to detain people, search premises without warrant and force people or areas into lockdown.

Public events cancelled

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, along with State and territory leaders, have suspended non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people from Monday 16th March to help slow the spread of coronavirus.

“It is precautionary. It is getting ahead of this to ensure that we can minimise the impact on your health and (so) we can ensure with confidence the ability for people to be accessing the health services that they and their families will need,” the Prime Minister said.

This has impacted some big events including the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix and cricket events, as well as the NRL and AFL seasons.

Self-isolation for returning travellers

Anyone arriving in Australia from overseas now must self-isolate for 14 days as a plan to restrict the spread of coronavirus. Cruise ships will also be banned from arriving to Australian ports for at least 30 days.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has enforced harsh penalties for those who don’t self-isolate. Queenslanders who have been told to self-isolate and do not comply will be fined $13,000.

Queensland researchers find ‘cure’

A team of researchers from the University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research say they have found a cure for the COVID-19 and hope to have patients enrolled in a nationwide trial by the end of the month. Director Professor David Paterson said, “It’s a potentially effective treatment. Patients would end up with no viable coronavirus in their system at all after the end of therapy.”

Qantas and Jetstar reduce flights

Qantas and Jetstar will cut 90 per cent of international flights and 60 per cent of domestic flights as a result of a drop in travel demand due to coronavirus. This will last until at least the end of May.

Supermarkets introduce daily hours for elderly and disabled customers

Woolworths and Coles are now putting aside an hour between 7.00am and 8.00am exclusively for elderly and disabled customers to make it easier for them to do their shopping.

Coles is hiring more than 5,000 casual staff to help deal with the increased demand. Both Woolworths and Coles have put purchase limits on a number of products that are in high demand including pasta, toilet paper and some frozen meals.