A man wearing a face mask walks through the CBD in Melbourne.
Australia on Thursday reported a record number of new coronavirus infections and deaths, logging at least 13 new deaths, majority at elderly care homes in southeastern Victoria state, where the government has ordered all residents to wear face masks outdoors.
As greater Melbourne passed the halfway point of a lockdown initially meant to last six weeks, Premier Daniel Andrews said the state would be stuck in "limbo" unless it could cut the infection rate.
Victoria's Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton said the restrictions would be a case of "balancing harms", because the disease and the lockdowns are both damaging to the community.
"And for so long as that continues, then we will continue to see numbers go up".
They will join more than 1400 Australian Defence Force personnel already on the ground in the state.
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'There were more than 130 unsuccessful visits, ' he said. Those people have been referred to police, and may face a A$1,652 (905.98 pounds) fine.
Days later they felt sick but allegedly carried on working, socialising and visiting restaurants and cocktail bars while waiting for their test results - which came back positive. "Any positive case is a worry because all these outbreaks start small and spread out", Cr Henderson said.
He said that further restrictions were now being considered.
A man in his 50s was among 14 people who died from the coronavirus in the last 24 hours in Victoria.
Specialist teams usually sent to disaster zones overseas are starting work in Victoria's aged care homes, where serious outbreaks have been reported.
With the national COVID-19 death toll rising to 197, health officials are weighing up whether stay-at-home orders in place across Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire are doing enough.
A Northern Hospital doctor in his 30s is battling the virus in intensive care at that hospital, making him one of three Melbourne doctors reportedly in ICU.
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"But we had always said masks could be warranted when the prevalence of infections increased and that's what we're seeing in Victoria", he said.
"My job is quite straightforward and that is to work with everyone I can to keep Australians safe", Mr Morrison said.
"The stage three restrictions had a really significant impact and people should be gratified by the fact that that's the case".
Some experts have expressed shock and concern after it was revealed Victoria recorded a new record-high day of 723 coronavirus cases today.
"With the majority being known close contacts, known outbreaks and clusters", he said.
4200 Victorian workers have received $300 isolation payments while 12,600 businesses have received a $5000 grant.
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