Sydney, Australia, Aug 12 (efe-epa).- Australia on Wednesday recorded 21 deaths due to COVID-19, a new record daily record, following an outbreak in the city of Melbourne, whose 5 million inhabitants are under strict lockdown until mid-September.
Sixteen of the deaths are linked to aged care homes, Victoria state’s Premier Daniel Andrews said at a press conference, in which he reported a daily increase of 410 infections.
“Any cases amongst vulnerable groups are concerning,” he said.
Victoria, the country’s second-most populated state, has 15,646 cases of COVID-19, out of the 22,100 recorded in Australia, which has registered 352 deaths since the start of the epidemic, including 267 in Victoria.
The outbreak in Victoria, which escalated at the end of June and is attributed to non-compliance at quarantine hotels provided for those returning to Melbourne from abroad, has badly hit the aged care sector, where more than 1,929 people, including residents and workers, have been infected with COVID-19.
The head of the Health Law and Ageing Research Unit of Monash University, Joseph Ibrahim, believes the mortality rate at these centers is the second highest in the world, after Canada, he told the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety set up by the government.
“We would probably be the second or third-highest rate of death in residential aged care (in the world),” he said at a hearing on Wednesday to discuss the response against COVID-19 in aged care centers.
“Canada had the highest rate of approximately 80 per cent of deaths from residential aged care. We’re faring very badly,” added the expert.
Ibrahim described keeping the elderly in these centers during outbreaks as “wrong and inappropriate” and said “what we’ve seen with COVID is that the system is broken at a high level.”
“It’s not the aged care workers that have failed us in this. It is people who are in governance roles,” he added. “They have not recognized the magnitude of the problem staring them in the face.”
Australia, which had begun the process of restarting its economy after having appeared to have successfully overcome the epidemic, is also battling several COVID-19 outbreaks in the state of New South Wales, whose capital is Sydney, and which reported an increase of 18 cases on Wednesday. EFE-EPA