Coronavirus crisis: Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announces 288 new COVID-19 cases

With no vaccine or effective treatment available experts have warned that social distancing is necessary to contain the virus | AFP

With no vaccine or effective treatment available experts have warned that social distancing is necessary to contain the virus | AFP

"People will feel deeply concerned to see that number as high as it is", Premier Daniel Andrews said.

Greater Melbourne went back into lockdown on July 7 for six weeks.

National cabinet also asked former health department head Jane Halton to undertake an inquiry into hotel quarantine arrangements around the country.

In the midst of this local rise in cases, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said people must not become complacent, as areas with little or no cases continue to reopen gradually around Australia.

Victoria's Chief Health Officer has requested people in locked-down metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire wear masks when they are out of their home and can't social distance.

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The Football Federal of Australia announced late Thursday that New South Wales had granted an exemption to players and coaches from Melbourne City, Melbourne Victory and Western United to travel to Sydney despite a border closure with Victoria.

Outside of Victoria, the country has seen few new infections, with most cases involving returned worldwide travelers in hotel quarantine. They are encouraged to take up alternative accommodations while they isolate, but if they choose not to, each resident will have a single point of contact with daily check-ins and food, medical care and mental support services will be provided. It will open its borders to people from other states and territories on Friday.

The lockdown led the government to announce a half-a-billion-dollar stimulus package for affected businesses.

Only one new case was recorded in ACT after a man in his 20s contracted the virus.

Health authorities had warned that Victoria's coronavirus outbreak was likely to worsen before it improved.

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She said that most of the cases involve younger generations who work or visit nightlife districts, and that officials are discussing measures targeting the specific population and establishments.

'There are four reasons to leave home, they are really the only reasons to leave home. Another 121 people are in isolation and being monitored as being suspected cases or for testing positive for the virus without showing any symptoms.

Currently, South Australia's border is all but closed to Victoria, with non-essential travellers not permitted to cross. Air Commodore Darryn Webb, head of managed isolation and quarantine, said the man cut through fence ties at the Distinction Hotel in Hamilton on Thursday and was gone for about 30 minutes, visiting a nearby liquor store before returning. New Zealand has eliminated community transmission of the virus and is trying to contain cases at the border by placing new arrivals into a 14-day quarantine at various hotels.

Drivers getting tested for COVID-19 at the drive-thru clinic at the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds.

The virus is now spreading fastest in Latin America.

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