SYDNEY: Australia’s second most populous state of Victoria reported on Wednesday (Jul 22) two new deaths from the coronavirus and logged a record daily increase of 484 new cases compared with 374 cases a day earlier.
Two men in their 90s died overnight from the virus, Premier Daniel Andrews said in a media briefing in Melbourne.
The state recorded its previous one-day high of 428 cases last week.
The Victoria government has asked residents to wear face masks when they step outside their houses or risk fines, and enforced a six-week partial lockdown in the city of Melbourne.
Melbourne residents will be required to wear masks outside from midnight – making the city the first place in Australia to mandate face coverings in public – in a new effort to slow the virus spread.
But Andrews said “further behaviour change” would still be required, after analysis showed almost nine in 10 people diagnosed with COVID-19 over the two weeks to Tuesday did not self-isolate between feeling sick and seeking a coronavirus test.
The outbreak has left Australia rattled and dampened hopes of a speedy economic recovery.
Australia reported a record 501 new coronavirus infections Wednesday, nearly four months after the pandemic supposedly peaked in the country.
Australia’s daily new infections previously peaked on Mar 28 when 459 cases were reported, according to data compiled by AFP, before the country appeared to bring the virus under control and began easing harsh restrictions.
It has now recorded almost 13,000 cases of COVID-19 and 128 fatalities in a country of about 25 million.
An inquiry into how the virus spread in Melbourne heard this week that many cases were likely linked to infection control breaches at hotels used to quarantine residents returning from overseas.
Victoria has effectively been sealed off from the rest of the country in an effort to contain the virus, but new cases have been detected in the neighbouring New South Wales state.
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian described the coming weeks as “the most critical” since the height of the last lockdown.