30 Jul 2020

Victoria announces more than 700 new Covid-19 cases, 13 deaths

2:29 pm on 30 July 2020

Victoria has reported more than 700 new Covid-19 cases in the state today.

Commuters walk past Melbourne's Flinders Street Station on July 23, 2020.

Commuters walking past Melbourne's Flinders Street Station on 23 July (file photo). Photo: AFP

The 723 cases mark the highest daily tally of the pandemic in the Australian state, shattering the previous single-day total by almost 200 cases.

Today, 13 new deaths were announced, another daily high. They were three men and three women in their 70s, three men and two women in their 80s, and two men in their 90s.

From midnight Sunday, face coverings will be mandatory throughout Victoria.

The government will also impose restrictions on face-to-face gatherings in some regional local government areas from midnight tonight.

"It's inconvenient, it's challenging, but it's essentially stage four for Melbourne, and it's something we can do in regional Victoria without causing significant economic cost, but getting a really significant public health benefit," Premier Daniel Andrews said at a media briefing.

Residents in Greater Geelong, Surf Coast, Moorabool, Golden Plains, Colac-Otway and the Borough of Queenscliffe will not be allowed to host visitors, weddings or funerals at their homes.

Andrews said the restrictions were designed to tackle family-to-family transmission. Hospitality venues would be allowed to remain open.

"I know that it may seem counterintuitive that you can go to the pub but you can't go to your mate's place," he said.

"But ultimately … the data drives that decision. That's where the transmission is. It's not in cafes and restaurants, but it is, in small numbers, in people's homes. One family to another."

A man has a swab sample taken during testing for the COVID-19 coronavirus at a drive through pop-up venue in Melbourne on July 1, 2020.

A health worker tests a man for Covid-19 at a drive-through venue in Melbourne. (file photo) Photo: AFP

Positive case found attending work

The Premier said today's case numbers reflected increased cases in aged care, but also said "too many people are still going to work when they have symptoms".

"So long as that continues, we will continue to see numbers go up," he said.

Australian Defence Force personnel and Department of Health and Human Services staff had doorknocked 798 properties in Victoria, including 269 yesterday.

Andrews said in one instance, the Covid-19 positive person they were looking for was not at home.

"They weren't home but a family member was and the family member helpfully pointed out that that person, a positive coronavirus case, was at work," he said.

"To have found even one person who had disregarded their diagnosis and instead had decided to go to work is very disappointing."

Today's increase in new cases surpasses Victoria's previous single-day record increase by more than 190 cases.

On Monday the state recorded 532 new infections.

Yesterday's increase of 295 cases was the first time since Friday the state's daily increase had been below 300, but chief health officer Brett Sutton declined to say the state had passed a peak.

Victoria has now recorded a total of 9998 coronavirus cases and 105 deaths since the pandemic began.

Woman who tests positive not cooperating - police

Meanwhile, three women who sparked a coronavirus scare in Queensland when they flew from Melbourne to Brisbane "went to extraordinary lengths to be deceitful, deceptive and quite frankly criminal," Queensland police say.

He said the women went to Victoria, went to a party with between 20 and 30 others, and then returned to Queensland. Two of the women have tested positive for coronavirus.

Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said police would allege the women "deliberately falsified records to get back into Queensland".

"Our focus now is working with those young women to identify everywhere that they have been since they have come back into Queensland," he said.

"One has been cooperative and the other has not.

"These persons will be put towards the court, [the] investigation has not yet concluded ... charges will be formalised today..."

Three other people in Queensland have tested positive in the last 24 hours but they are not connected to the travellers, authorities say.

Health authorities in New South Wales have confirmed 18 new coronavirus infections.

The latest figures come as several Sydney government and Catholic schools and preschools were closed today due to confirmed or suspected coronavirus cases.

- ABC / RNZ

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