Australia on Friday recorded the second largest single-day surge in the number of of new COVID-19 cases, while the death toll was nearing 200.
As of Friday noon there had been 196 deaths from COVID-19 in Australia, and the number of new cases in last 24 hours is 651, which is the second largest daily number in the country after Thursday’s record of 747, according to the update from Michael Kidd, the government’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer.
All eight new deaths were in Victoria, including four linked to aged care facilities in the worst-hit state, reports Xinhua news agency.
It takes the state’s death toll to 113 with more expected to follow as authorities continue to fight outbreaks of the virus in care homes.
The total number of confirmed cases in Australia as of Friday noon was 16,905, said Kidd in the update.
“The level of new diagnoses remains concerning,” he said.
“Eight days ago, we had over 500 cases reported for the first time and the trend continues to be upwards.”
Victoria has confirmed 627 new cases – its second highest daily increase after 723 on Thursday – and reclassified 48 cases that were previously diagnosed.
The number of cases nationally has grown by 3,310, or 24.3 per cent, in seven days from 13,595 on July 24. The death toll has risen by 57 from 139 in the same time period.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday said he supported the Victoria government’s decision to make face masks mandatory statewide from Sunday.
He said it was concerning that the lockdown on the metropolitan Melbourne area imposed in early July was not having impact on the rate of infection.
Morrison said he spoke to Daniel Andrews, the Premier of Victoria, on Thursday night to discuss the possibility of further restrictions in the state.
The Australian Medical Association (AMA), has called for further lockdowns across Victoria in the form of certain industries being shut down.