Australia has recorded its deadliest day of the coronavirus pandemic amid a second wave of infections in Melbourne.
The state of Victoria – of which Melbourne is the capital – reported 19 deaths on Monday.
Victoria has now seen about two-thirds of the 314 deaths in Australia and approximately 21,400 cases.
But the number of daily infections – though still in the hundreds – has dropped in recent days, giving hope that a severe blockade is working.
Melbourne’s second blockade began about a month ago, but residents have been subject to a search for overnight police and stricter requirements since Aug. 3.
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Workers must hold a permit to leave home, and all non-core businesses are closed. Wearing masks in public is also mandatory.
Victoria reported 322 new cases on Monday, up from a high of 725 registered five days ago. Other states reported few or no cases.
More than 100 deaths were recorded in Victoria last week alone while hospital admission levels are also rising.
Daily Victoria cases
Phase 4 blocking began on August 3rd
Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews said it was too early to say whether the state was at a turning point, but “we are certainly seeing greater stability” after the austerity measures.
“It’s always better to be lower than the day before, but it’s just the data of a day,” he said.
Most of the deaths have been related to explosions in nearly 100 care-aged homes in the state.
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But one man in his 30s was among last week’s victims – prompting authorities to urge young people to take more care.
In neighboring New South Wales (NSW), which has seen small clusters of viruses in Sydney, the state government urged young people to limit their social activities.
Queensland, which has closed its border with NSW and Victoria, said Monday it seemed to have avoided an outbreak, two weeks after travelers returned the virus from Melbourne.
Happened what happened to Australia’s early success?
Australia has achieved even better than many countries in general due to effective suppression measures at the beginning of the pandemic.
But since June – when most Australians emerged from a first hurdle – the Melbourne blast has escalated.
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- Why did the Melbourne blockade fail to prevent more cases?
Infections there account for more than 70% of Australia’s total cases since the onset of the pandemic.
The spread is suspected to have started with violations in the quarantine of hotels of infected travelers returning from abroad.
In recent days, medical groups have raised the alarm about the growing number of healthcare workers infected with the virus.
There are now over 700 such cases. A study of doctors showed that 20% of doctors in hospitals had to source their protective equipment.