COVID-19 cases in Australia’s Victoria state hit 13-month high

CANBERRA, (Reuters) – Australia’s Victoria state, the country’s second-most populous, on Saturday reported the biggest one-day rise in locally acquired COVID-19 cases in more than a year.

Victoria state said it detected 450 locally acquired COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, the biggest one-day rise since Aug. 8, 2020.

Queensland state said five new COVID-19 cases were detected in the past 24 hours, stoking fears Australia’s third-largest state could be next to be swamped by new infections.

Queensland state Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the state would not yet enter a lockdown, but her government was monitoring closely any signs the cluster could have spread.

“If we start seeing any seeding, then we may have to take very quick, fast action. But at the moment, it’s contained to the family,” said Palaszczuk.

The surge in new cases comes as Australia struggles to contain the highly infectious Delta variant that threatens to push the country’s economy into its second recession in as many years.

The rise in cases sees Australia’s two largest states and its capital in strict lockdowns as authorities seek to curtail infections while racing to vaccinate as many people as possible.