Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy is pleading with Australians to forgo their usual Easter festivities this weekend and stick to social distancing measures to try to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

At least 34 Australians have now died from COVID-19, including four new fatalities in NSW, but a number of states have reported lower numbers of cases.

Professor Murphy said there were now 5687 cases across the country, a rise of 139 over the last 24 hours and probably the lowest that has been seen in the past few days.

However, about 10 per cent of these cases is where there is no known contact with another case.

“I may sound like a broken record at times but community transmission is what worries me most of all,” Prof Murphy told reporters in Canberra on Sunday.

“Those are the reasons we have brought in the social distancing measures and all of those measures to stop the spread.”

He said Easter was a time when people normally travelled, got together and had social gatherings but “we’re asking you not to do that”.


“We’re asking you to stay with your family, in your residence, not travel where you might be unwittingly spreading the virus, not have parties where you might unwittingly be sharing the virus with people who don’t have it,” he said.

However, there was a rare light-hearted moment about the Easter Bunny.

“I’m told because he’s a solo operator and an essential service, he or she, will be allowed to continue to operate,” he quipped.