Australia reports jump in daily new cases, record deaths

Australia’s second-most populous state, Victoria, recorded 459 cases of the new coronavirus, the second-highest daily total and up from 357 cases the previous day, the state’s leader said on Sunday.

Premier Daniel Andrews also told a press briefing that Victoria had reported 10 COVID-19 deaths in past 24 hours, Australia’s highest ever daily number.

The state’s second wave is being driven by workplace infections, including at aged-care and healthcare facilities, big distribution centres, slaughterhouses, cold-storage facilities and warehouses, Andrews said.

“What that tells you is that some people… are feeling sick, they have symptoms and they are still going to work,” he said. “If that continues, then we will just continue to see more and more cases.”

The cases were found on the day with the highest number of coronavirus tests, at more than 45,000.

Australia has avoided the worst of coronavirus crisis seen in other countries, but authorities are struggling to contain an outbreak in Victoria. It has recorded more than 14,400 cases so far.

Victorians are subject to a six week lockdown, border closures with other states and mandatory face mask wearing.

The country’s most populous state of New South Wales recorded 14 new cases overnight, with almost half connected to a known outbreak at a restaurant on the outskirts of Sydney.

“Ten families are currently planning funerals. And the youngest among them have lost someone in their forties. Please wear a mask everyone. And if you don’t you will get fined,” Andrews said.