THERE'S been no new cases of coronavirus across the New England North West but the health district's death toll has risen.
A second Ruby Princess cruise ship passenger from the Hunter has died of COVID-19 complications.
Health Minister Brad Hazzard announced on Monday that the 74-year-old woman had died in John Hunter Hospital.
A 76-year-old male Ruby Princess passenger from the Hunter died in Westmead Hospital early this month.
Another passenger, a 79-year-old man, died in Northern Beaches Hospital on Monday, taking the death toll from the cruise to 17.
The woman's death is the second in John Hunter Hospital related to COVID-19 after a 69-year-old man died on Thursday. He is believed to have contracted the virus while interstate.
On Sunday, health authorities announced they had tracked down the source of all coronavirus cases in Tamworth. Tamworth still has 12 official cases of COVID-19, while Gunnedah has at least one case.
NSW Health reported six new coronavirus cases in the Hunter New England Health district in the 24 hours to 8pm on Sunday, bringing the area's tally to 276.
The HNEH cases accounted for two thirds of the nine recorded across the state on Sunday.
The state death toll stands at 26 and the national toll 61.
Mr Hazzard said the low number of positive tests showed NSW was "moving in the right direction" but it was not time for the government to "slacken off".
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said Australians had done "what we hoped and more" by staying at home over the Easter weekend.
"We are now seeing consolidation of the flattening of the curve," he said.
"The latest data shows we have had consistent growth in new cases of below 2 per cent a day."
He said "outbreaks" and "spikes" could occur at any time, but the case numbers were a "cause for real hope".
Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said he expected the national cabinet to announce a relaxation of social distancing measures by the end of April.
HNEH public health physician Dr David Durrheim said allowing gatherings of up to five people and letting kindergarten and Higher School Certificate students return to school could be a viable first step, but only with continued police oversight and public health monitoring of virus case numbers.
He said overseas countries such as Singapore had loosened lockdowns and experienced a spike in cases.
"The modelling gives a very loud warning: If we relax the measures prematurely, the virus could undo all our collective good work," he said.
He said it was too early to say the HNEH district had controlled the spread of the virus.
"It is possible there are people in the community who are unwell and potentially have COVID-19, they just haven't been tested yet," he said.
"It's vital anyone with cold or flu symptoms is tested by calling ahead and attending your local emergency department, COVID-19 testing clinic or seeing your GP."
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