Health

Melbourne records highest single-day spike in COVID-19 cases

Sydney, Australia, Jul 22 (efe-epa).- Authorities in the Australian state of Victoria on Wednesday reported two deaths due to COVID-19 and 484 new cases, a record daily increase since the outbreak was detected in Melbourne, the state’s capital, earlier this month.

Between Jul. 7 to Jul. 21, the southeastern Victoria state has confirmed some 3,810 people infected with the novel coronavirus, which accounts for more than 29 percent of all confirmed cases in Australia since the start of the epidemic.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton told reporters on Wednesday that the cases were likely to rise in the coming days by “between 500-600 cases per day.”

“So we have to reinforce the things that we know will make a difference. And that is the very simple principles of isolation and quarantine,” he added.

On Jul. 9, Victoria, Australia’s largest state, imposed a second lockdown in Melbourne, which has about 5 million inhabitants, as well as the adjoining Mitchell Shire, which will remain in place until Aug. 20.

The use of masks in these two cities will also be mandatory from Thursday on account of the outbreak, which is being attributed to security breaches at the hotels, where overseas travelers arriving in the country undergo a mandatory two-week quarantine.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews noted Wednesday that more than half the people who tested positive for the virus during the new outbreak did not self-isolate between the time they got tested for the virus and the results of the test.

“Fifty-three percent of people continuing to go shopping, continuing to go to work, continuing to do all sorts of things even though they’ve got symptoms, they feel sick, sick enough to get a test, and then, somehow, not willing to stay at home and wait — on average — a couple of days, and sometimes sooner — to get the results of that test,” he said.

“And a six week shutdown will not be for six weeks. It will run for much longer than that,” he warned.

In the neighboring state of New South Wales, which recently closed its common border with Victoria for the first time in almost 100 years, the authorities remain on high alert in the face of outbreaks detected in Sydney, the regional capital, as well as in two seaside towns.

On Wednesday, 16 new COVID-19 local cases were confirmed in NSW, although the state’s premier, Gladys Berijiklian, clarified that all cases recorded since the outbreak were “all from the same source, the same genomic sequencing” linked to the Melbourne outbreak.

Australia, which successfully managed the first wave of the epidemic, has recorded a total of nearly 13,000 cases since March, including 128 deaths. EFE-EPA

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