Australia's coronavirus infection rates are following the curves that have been seen overseas where the virus has taken hold, deputy Chief Medical officer Paul Kelly said on Thursday, but the infection rate should start to slow.
"It's not surprising at the moment, given that almost all of our cases still have come from overseas, that we're following a similar curve to those overseas countries," he said.
"Now that there is that 14 days' quarantine, that means stay at home ... that will decrease the spread of the virus from that group. And all of these other measures we've introduced over the past week will also start to decrease that curve. I'm confident that will happen."
He could not say when the slowdown in cases might happen.
Professor Kelly was speaking as Australian cases surged to more than 600. The official data showed 565 cases, up more than 110 in 24 hours, by far the biggest one-day increase. More cases were announced by NSW and other state authorities on Thursday.
"[Numbers are] going up quickly, but it's being still mostly driven by international travel, which is, as people know, starting to decrease very quickly," Professor Kelly said.
"So it's not surprising we have had an increase in cases, but so far there are only 100 confirmed to be locally acquired, out of that 565. So most of those cases are still travel from international destinations," he said.
The official data shows 259 cases, or 45 per cent, are believed to have been contracted overseas. One hundred cases are either contacts of known cases or unknown sources. The remaining 206 are still being investigated.
NATIONAL READ MORE:
Australia's cases have jumped more than 10-fold in just two weeks, from 52 cases on March 5.
Like Australia, Italy had a slow start, but once cases took off they skyrocketed.
In Italy, the comparable 10-fold increase took place in just five days, from 62 cases on February 22 to 655 cases on February 27, rather than the two weeks that jump took in Australia.
In Italy, cases exploded nearly 100 times in the two weeks from February 22, from 62 to to 5883 on March 7.
The country has nearly caught up with China on the number of deaths, with Italy just shy of 3000 deaths (2978) and China at 3249.
The rate of increase in Singapore is much slower than in Australia. Singapore has only about half the number of cases of Australia. In Singapore, it has taken five weeks for the number of infected people to increase from from 58 to 313.
- For information on COVID-19, please go to the federal Health Department's website.
- You can also call the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080
- If you have serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, call Triple Zero (000)
We have removed our paywall from our stories about the coronavirus. This is a rapidly changing situation and we want to make sure our readers are as informed as possible. If you would like to support our journalists you can subscribe here.