SYDNEY – Australia recorded its highest daily total of COVID-19 cases on Monday, mostly in the state of Victoria, with 532 new infections and six deaths.
Adding to the 17 additional cases registered in New South Wales, the national total on Monday came to 549 infections, a new daily record in Australia that exceeded the 502 reached last Wednesday.
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton told a news conference on Monday that the “peak” of infections may have been reached.
The outbreak in Victoria, which forced the city of Melbourne and the rural municipality of Mitchell Shire into lockdown on July 9 for six weeks, has been mainly affecting the elderly.
Of the 10 deaths recorded on Sunday, the highest number of daily deaths in the country due to COVID-19, seven were residents of nursing homes, while four of the six reported on Monday were also elderly.
According to Victoria authorities, there are currently 4,542 active cases in the state, of which 683 are linked to the elderly care sector, while another 245 people are hospitalized, of which 44 are in intensive care.
“The population that gets affected tends to be younger, therefore, tends to be [of] a working age. Often there’s a lot more community transmission in that phase compared to wave one,” Sutton said.
He added that “areas of transmission are occurring in workplaces, mostly essential workplaces, and that it’s spilling over into aged care.”
In New South Wales, which together with Victoria accounts for more than half of the country’s population and economy, daily cases of the virus also continue to be confirmed.
The highest court in New South Wales banned on Sunday the anti-racism Black Lives Matter rally called for Tuesday in Sydney, although thousands of people are expected to participate.
“We have to be on high alert,” said New South Wales Premier Gladys Berijiklian. “Conducting a protest at this time is highly irresponsible.”
COVID-19 has infected some 15,000 people and caused 161 deaths in Australia, a country that successfully managed the first wave of infections.