Social Distancing Not Enough To Stop Coronavirus As Australia Records Spike In Cases

The head of the World Health Organisation says social distancing and other measures to limit contact can help fight the spread of the coronavirus, but testing people is its number one priority.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says the COVID-19 outbreak is the "defining global health crisis of our time" and will be "a test of our resolve".

"We have not seen an urgent enough escalation in testing, isolation and contact tracing, which is the backbone of the response" to determine who is sick," he said on Monday.

"You cannot fight a fire blindfolded and we cannot stop this pandemic if we don't know who is infected," he said.

"We have a simple message for all countries: test, test, test."

The warning comes as Australia records its highest spike in cases of coronavirus, with 100 people testing positive over just 24 hours.

Australia's death toll is five, with more than 300 cases identified across the country.