19 deaths, another 331 new Vic virus cases

Daniel Andrews standing in front of a piano Anti Mask Protesters Stage Unauthorised Rally Despite Melbourne's Stage 4 Lockdown Restrictions

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Australia's second-most populous state, Victoria, reported its deadliest day of the COVID-19 outbreak on Sunday, with 17 people dying, as police thwarted a planned anti-mask rally in the capital of Melbourne.

Melbourne residents are in lockdown and face strict social distancing rules. But as the country began to reopen, community transmissions rose significantly in Victoria, where triple-digit daily new cases have now been recorded for weeks.

As Australia recorded the highest single-day spike of coronavirus cases, the Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Monday that the internal city borders will stay sealed, until further notice. Aside from the death toll, new infections have also climbed from 322 reported on Monday at 7:49 a.m. AEST, to 331 reported Tuesday.

"We continue to see numbers coming down".

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The number of new cases climbed by 394 (at press time), taking the state's total to 14,659, Victoria's Premier Daniel Andrews said in a media briefing in Melbourne yesterday.

New Zealand reported no new cases of COVID-19 for five consecutive days, with the number of active cases in the country being 21, according to the Ministry of Health.

"The public health advice to me, all of our experts remain convinced and very confident that as we're just into the early parts of the second week, not even yet a full week, of numerous Stage 4 most significant changes, we will continue to see data that forms a trend and we continue to see numbers coming down", he said.

"This is an agonising day for the members for the 19 families who have lost a loved one to COVID-19 today", Michael Kidd, Australia's deputy chief medical officer, told reporters.

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"This strategy is hard, it's heartbreaking, it's very challenging, but it's the only one that will drive down movement across Victoria and, therefore, drive down case numbers and that's what we have to be focused on", Mr Andrews told reporters.

"Sadly some of those people will die".

The ads tell the confronting stories of people who caught the virus, including middle-aged woman June who thought she would die.

It came as new ads were aired across Victoria in a bid to get residents to comply with the stage four lockdown.

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