Australia’s Victoria state on Friday reported a record daily increase in COVID-19 cases while neighbouring New South Wales said it was banning dancing, singing and mingling at weddings as authorities struggle to contain a new wave of infections.
Victoria, which has forced nearly 5 million people in the country’s second most populous state into a partial lockdown for more than a week, said it has found 428 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, most from community transmission.
Such is the size of the Victoria outbreak, Australia on Friday posted its second biggest one-day rise in new COVID-19 infections, with 438 cases.
It was largest 24-hour spike since late March, when most cases detected in Australia were people returning from overseas.
The findings stoked expectations Victoria will be forced to implement tougher restrictions on its residents, which in turn will damage Australia’s national economy.
“We are in the fight of our lives,” Victoria state’s Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos told reporters in Melbourne.
Australia has recorded just over 11,000 cases of COVID-19.
The death toll rose to 116 after the death of three people in Victoria on Friday, still well below many other countries.
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Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his government will provide any assistance needed, as he urged against panic.
“We would not have expected to see the results of the lockdown measures put in place in Victoria as yet,” Morrison told reporters.
The surge in COVID-19 cases in Victoria, however, has stirred concerns of a national second wave, with state Premier Daniel Andrews urging all state residents to wear masks when outside.