Coronavirus: Australia's Victoria records huge case jump

Scott Morrison addressed COVID-19

Scott Morrison speaking about coronavirus

The government confirmed the grim news Thursday COVID-19 cases in the country have hit a new record-high with 747 new cases overnight.

Speaking in Melbourne this morning, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said 10 of 13 deaths are now thought to be linked to outbreaks in the state's aged care system.

But Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said on Thursday that masks or other face coverings will be compulsory for the whole state beginning late on Sunday. The death toll also surpassed the previous daily high of 10. Melbourne and neighboring Mitchell Shire are halfway through a six-week lockdown, which Andrews says could be extended.

Asked how the public should respond to yesterday's number, Mr Andrews said: "There'd be significant concern across the community and I'm obviously concerned to see these numbers increase".

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"But some of the transmission is in households and that makes sense when you think about it. People are not necessarily taking the distance in their family time". "At the moment, the numbers sound big to us because we haven't had to deal with the numbers that a lot of countries in the world have had to deal with".

With most other states and territories recording zero or just a handful of new cases for weeks, police around the country continue to crack down on those flouting travel bans from virus hotspots and other public health orders.

- China is stepping up testing for COVID-19 in an attempt to get a handle on new outbreaks that have defied the country's considerable success in containing the coronavirus that was first detected in the central city of Wuhan late past year.

Andrews stated that people going to work while experiencing Covid-19 symptoms are still driving case numbers up and urged Victorians to isolate if feeling unwell. The state said Tuesday it will suspend all but the most urgent elective surgeries in Melbourne as it seeks to free up hospital beds and nurses to fight a spike of cases in such facilities. Extensive testing has also been carried out in Urumqi, where more than 100 specialists from the Centers for Disease Control are investigating the outbreak.

No indication new coronavirus is seasonal
In temperate areas of the northern hemisphere, influenza activity has "returned to inter-seasonal levels". Referencing heightened case numbers during the summer in the U.S.

Almost 10,000 coronavirus cases of Australia's total 16,303 infections have been reported in Victoria since late January.

A crucial factor in containing the virus is cases of community transmission which don't have a known source.

Northeastern Queensland state, which had effectively eliminated the virus, said it had found three new cases, two of whom were believed to have contracted COVID-19 while in Sydney, the capital of NSW.

People sit along the harbor in Sydney, March 20, 2020.

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- Sri Lankan authorities have made a decision to reopen schools on August 10, almost five months after they were shut because of the coronavirus. Students in grades 1, 2, 3, 6, 7 and 8 will attend one day per week, while those in grades 4 and 9 will attend two days a week. Health authorities had expected the infection rate would have plateaued by now.

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