Australia’s southern state of Victoria posted 723 new COVID-19 cases and 13 deaths on Wednesday, a new one-day record for the hardest-hit state from the sudden spike of the disease.
The new numbers exceed the 532 new coronavirus cases posted on Monday for Australia’s second most populous state. Victoria has now posted over 9,900 total number of COVID-19 infections and 105 deaths, making up the majority of Australia’s 16,298 total confirmed cases and 189 deaths.
Melbourne, Victoria state’s capital city, is the epicenter of the state’s current COVID-19 surge. State Premier David Andrews has blamed the uptick on residents continuing to go to work or generally in public despite developing symptoms, as well as a breakout in assisted living facilities for the elderly. Andrews has ordered all residents in Victoria to wear a face mask outside beginning Sunday, extending a mandate already in place for Melbourne and the rural area of Mitchell Shire.
Andrews has also issued an order banning residents in communities outside of Melbourne from bringing guests into their homes effective Thursday.
Melbourne is at the halfway point of a six-week lockdown, which has restricted residents from leaving home unless going to work, school, medical appointments or shopping for food.
Meanwhile, authorities in the northeastern state of Queensland have announced that it will ban residents from Greater Sydney effective Saturday to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The ban was imposed after two women tested positive for COVID-19 after returning to the state capital of Brisbane from a trip to Melbourne via Sydney tested positive and without going into self-isolation.