Australia crosses 200 COVID-19 deaths since start of epidemic

Sydney, Australia, Aug 1 (efe-epa).- The Australian authorities announced four new deaths from COVID-19 on Saturday, taking the nationwide death toll from the novel coronavirus to 201 since the start of the crisis.

The Oceanian country successfully managed the first wave of infections, but has in past weeks been facing a surge in cases mostly concentrated in the southern state of Victoria, which has imposed a second lockdown in the cities of Melbourne and Mitchell Shire since early July.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said in a press conference that 397 fresh cases of COVID-19 and three deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours in the state.

The use of face masks has been made compulsory all across the state, although some people have been violating the rule and some who have tested positive have been found to have not complied with the isolation measures imposed by the authorities.

“I think people, deep down, know and understand these rules. We’ve all just got to make better choices,” said Andrews, while warning of the possibility of implementing stricter measures across the region.

On Saturday Andrews also said there was a “growing concern in relation to the number of community transmission cases.”

In recent days, 49 cases were recorded as “mystery” community transmissions where health authorities could not find where the infection chain began, he said.

“Forty-nine doesn’t necessarily seem such a large number but 49 mysteries when it could be much more than that because you can’t find who that original case was, that is a significant concern to us,” he said, adding that since the beginning of the epidemic, at least 1,841 cases could not be traced back to the original source.

On Thursday, Victoria registered a national record of 723 fresh cases of the coronavirus as well as 13 deaths.

The cases in the state account for about 60 percent of the approximately 17,300 COVID-19 infections detected nationwide since the start of the pandemic.

Neighboring New South Wales, which has closed its border with Victoria, on Saturday recorded 17 new cases and one death, the first in more than a month in the territory. EFE-EPA


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