COVID-19 cases soar to 818 in New South Wales overnight

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has pushed for all schools to close

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has pushed for all schools to close

Despite the announcement, schools across the state will remain open on Monday, but it is unclear if they will close in the coming days as the NSW government tightens the shutdown. If a decision isn't reached, Victorian schools could be shut as soon as Tuesday.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has again urged people need to take the virus seriously.

"It's painful, but it is absolutely appropriate", Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said on Monday morning.

Ms White says many of her staff are in a high-risk category if they contracted COVID-19, which caused the school to act early.

"We had scheduled our next meeting to focus on the issue of further and stronger measures to deal with local outbreaks within state jurisdictions", Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a press conference on Sunday.

"I can't emphasise that enough", she said.

NSW was now sitting on the precipice of a more serious outbreak and had to avoid the mistakes of other countries, Ms Berejiklian said. Despite intense questioning from reporters, the NSW premier would not forecast what might happen when Term 2 was scheduled to begin.

NSW has 704 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

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Australia's New South Wales state, of which Sydney is the capital, will use harsh penalties to enforce self-isolation, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said today, as the coronavirus pandemic was at a "critical stage".

The vast majority of cases - 327 - were imported from overseas. There are 13 people in ICU.

The union said it would throw its weight behind calls for schools to close if the government could not guarantee complete health protection for teachers as well as support for parents working in essential services.

"These are not ordinary school holidays".

Absentee rates across NSW public schools have skyrocketed from an average eight per cent to 41 per cent due to coronavirus fears, NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said.

The Public Service Association - which represents 17,500 non-teaching school staff across NSW - called on the Berejiklian government to follow the United Kingdom approach and close schools for all children but those of essential service workers.

"I want to stress that, for parents that have no option, for parents that are workers and have no option, the school is safe for children to attend", she reiterated.

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