Australia’s Victoria state on Monday reported the country’s highest daily increase in coronavirus infections, prompting the authorities to warn a six-week lockdown may last longer if people continue to go to work while feeling unwell.
- Victoria records 532 new cases – highest single day increment in the state since the onset of Covid-19.
- Six deaths in the past 24 hours, taking the state tally to 77, almost half the national death toll.
- Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews requests people to not go to work if they are feeling unwell.
- Government warns of lockdown extension if community transmission is not contained.
The second-most populous state reported 532 new cases of the virus which causes COVID-19, the most new cases in a day since the pandemic arrived in Australia, and six more deaths, taking the state toll to 77, almost half the national death toll.
Five of the latest deaths were people in aged care facilities, the authorities said.
Until recently Australia had avoided the high COVID-19 casualty rates of other countries, but a wave of community transmission in Victoria has prompted a lockdown in Melbourne, the only Australian city to make it mandatory to wear a facemask in public.
“If you’ve got a sniffle, a scratchy throat, a headache, fever, then you can’t go to work,” said Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews in a televised news conference.
“This is what is driving these numbers up, and the lockdown will not end until people stop going to work with symptoms and instead go and get tested because they have symptoms.”
Meanwhile, neighbouring New South Wales (NSW) state, the country’s most populous, is also grappling with several virus clusters that have sprung up at a hotel, a Thai restaurant and a club. NSW reported 17 new cases on Monday. NSW has had 3,496 cases.
Australia has recorded a total 14,935 cases and 161 deaths.
More than 16.13 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 644,836 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
With inputs from Reuters.