Australia records highest daily number of Covid-19 deaths

Sydney, Australia, Aug 9 (efe-epa).- Australia on Sunday recorded the highest number of Covid-19 deaths in a single day since the start of the epidemic, with 17 casualties in the state of Victoria, where there has been a fresh outbreak of the novel coronavirus in recent weeks.

Ten of the deaths occurred in aged care homes, according to Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews, and 394 cases of Covid-19 were detected in the state, taking the total to 14,659.

Australia has recorded 21,084 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 295 deaths, 210 of them in Victoria.

On Sunday, the authorities of Victoria announced an AU$59.7 million ($42.7 million) package for mental health services.

“We know that particularly at the moment, we want to keep those people with mental illness away from emergency departments,” said Victoria’s Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley. “Emergency departments are busy at the best of times, particularly now in the height of a pandemic.”

“We want to make sure that we keep those people who need support for mental illness with the support that they need in the community,” he added.

Australia had appeared to have controlled the epidemic but in early July, an outbreak was reported in Victoria, concentrated especially in its capital, Melbourne, which was aggravated due to alleged breaches of quarantine measure imposed on overseas travelers.

State authorities ordered a six-week lockdown of Melbourne on July 9 but as local transmissions continued to rise, it imposed a curfew from Aug. 2 and raised restrictions implemented from Thursday to mid-September to a level 4.

The lockdown includes the closure of non-essential businesses such as retail stores and gyms, as well as restrictions on the operations of sectors such as construction and meat processing.

The measures imposed in Victoria, which accounts for 23 percent of the national economy, “will have a very significant cost, and it will impact the recovery path,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told journalists in Canberra on Thursday.

The effect on the GDP of the measures in Victoria is expected to be between AU$10 billion to AU$12 billion ($7.16 billion to $8.6 billion) and the unemployment rate is expected to rise from 9.25 percent to 10 percent although the effective rate could be around 13 percent. EFE-EPA


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