23 December 2020
Good afternoon, everyone. Paul Kelly, the Chief Medical Officer of Australia here. And just going to give you the update on the latest information from the COVID-19 pandemic here and internationally. I'll start with international first. There are over 77 million people that have been diagnosed with this disease this year, since the start of January. Over 1.7 million deaths. We should keep those figures in our mind as we think through what's happening in the Australian context. In the US alone, there were over 200,000 people diagnosed yesterday. Their hospitals are absolutely chock-a-block full. Their ICUs are overflowing. That is a very different situation here in Australia, even despite the hot spot that we've seen in recent times in the Northern Beaches of Sydney.
So, there were 21 new cases diagnosed in Australia yesterday. Most of those, well several of those, I'll get on to that in a minute, in New South Wales, and related to the New South Wales hot spots. But importantly there has been no new deaths for some time. Hospitalisations remain extremely low. There are only 22 people in Australia right now in hospital. No person in intensive care, and therefore, of course, no one on ventilation. So, there's been no changes in that, despite the cases that have occurred in relation to the New South Wales event in recent days.
So, in the past seven days, we've had 173 cases. Of those, roughly half have been in the Northern Beaches of Sydney, and that related cluster, plus the rest are in overseas quarantine.