Australia's Victoria reports two Covid-19 deaths, record daily rise in infections

Victoria reported 317 new daily cases, the highest since the pandemic began. PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY (REUTERS, XINHUA) - Australia's second-most populous state of Victoria said on Thursday (July 16) two men in their 80s died overnight from the coronavirus, as the state logged a record daily rise in new infections.

Victoria reported 317 new daily cases, the highest since the pandemic began. The state's previous high of 288 new cases came last week.

Victoria is the centre of a renewed outbreak of Covid-19 in Australia, with close to 2,800 new infections for the state in July alone.

According to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, 289 of Thursday's cases remained under investigation by health experts, while 28 were connected to known clusters.

Andrews also revealed that two men in their 80s had died after contracting the virus, taking the national death toll to 113.

Meanwhile, the neighbouring state of New South Wales recorded 10 new cases of Covid-19 and South Australia reported just one new infection, while the rest of the country reported zero increase.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the situation in Victoria as "very concerning," but expressed hope that local health officials had succeeded in flattening the spread.

Andrews said that the most important factor, aside from the public adhering with social distancing rules, was for those with even mild symptoms to get tested.

"That really does give us...the clear information that our coronavirus detectives can then use to contain further outbreaks and to bring some stability to these numbers," he said.

On July 8, Victoria reintroduced stay at home orders across a number of affected regions, including Melbourne, Australia's second largest city.

In accordance with the laws, members of the public are only allowed to leave their houses to exercise, shop for food, provide care or seek medical treatment and for essential work and study.

Andrews said that due to the nature of the virus it would take some time for the impact of the lockdowns to be reflected in the data.

"With these stay at home restrictions only just a week old it will take some time to bring that stability to the numbers, and then of course to see a pattern where they are driven down," he said.

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