Public gatherings are now limited to two people, as the Australian Government introduces tougher restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Public gatherings are now limited to two people, as the Australian Government introduces tougher restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

VIRUS BREAKDOWN: Coronavirus timeline on Northern Rivers

THERE are five new coronavirus cases in Northern NSW as the state and federal governments enact extreme measures to flatten the curve.

The new cases bring the total number of infections detected in the Northern NSW Health District to 38 as at 8pm on Monday night, rising from 33 on Saturday night.

There are now five confirmed cases in Lismore, eight in the Byron Shire, eight in Clarence Valley, 11 in the Tweed.

Ballina and Tenterfield still have between 1-4 cases respectively.

Kyogle and the Richmond Valley remain COVID-19 free.

Source - World Health Organization, Johns Hopkins, other media

On the Northern Rivers, like the rest of the country, that means major changes to our daily lives.

The first cases in NSW were confirmed in late January, with the first case in Australia confirmed shortly before in Victoria.

Australia recorded its first coronavirus fatality on March 1 after a man confirmed as COVID-19 positive died in a Perth hospital.

By then, five cases had been confirmed in NSW.

The ramifications of coronavirus, and the extreme measures in place by governments and private enterprise to kerb the rapid spread, have been felt on a personal and financial level across the country. 

Flights to and from the Northern Rivers have been slashed, with some airlines stopping flights altogether.

By March, the flight numbers of all routes with a confirmed coronavirus case was released as Northern NSW Health District ramped up its contact tracing.

Among them was Jetstar flight JQ456 from Sydney to Ballina, arriving March 12.

Passengers in specific rows where been told to self-isolate and contact a doctor immediately if they became unwell.

By March 12 fever clinics had been implemented at Lismore Base Hospital and Tweed Hospital.

By March 23, the country was effectively in shutdown with Prime Minister Scott Morrison announcing that night pubs, clubs, entertainment venues and churches would close by noon the next day.

Millions of Australians were to be out of a job. On the Northern Rivers, hearts were shattered as businesses closed their doors.

>>> 'Never been shut in 16 years': Heartbreak for businesses

By March 24, there has been a massive spike in coronavirus cases in the area, with 10 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed within the Northern NSW Local Health District, bringing the total to 17 cases a week ago.

This means cases have more than doubled in the past week.

The fallout and stressors from that declaration has been extreme, but the resilient region was determined to weather the storm as best it could.

>>> How you can support local businesses right now

NSW tightened restrictions on March 31, with residents now facing massive fines and even jail time if they break laws restricting non-essential travel and all gatherings to two people.

From today, people who leave their home without a valid reason - for work or study, buying food or other essentials, seeking medical care or exercise - they are liable for a fine of up to $11,000 and a maximum six months in jail.


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