The Premier of Australia's second most populous state, Victoria, confirmed 397 new Covid-19 cases and three deaths in the state in the past 24 hours and said there is "growing concern" over community transmission.
The three deaths bring Victoria's deaths in the pandemic to 116 and Australia's tally to 201.
Daniel Andrews told a televised briefing that while 397 new cases was a reduction on the state's highest-ever daily tallies of 723 and 627, recorded in the past two days, the increase was still "very significant".
"The numbers are too high and there is a growing case for us to do more," Andrews said.
"This is a very significant number of new cases, and while there is always a temptation to try and read trends in these numbers, there is a growing concern in relation to the number of community transmission cases within that data."
He said in recent days, 49 cases had been recorded as "mystery cases" or community transmission, where health authorities could not track the "index case" where the chain of infection began.
"Forty-nine doesn't necessarily seem such a large number but 49 mysteries when it could be much more than that because you can't find who that original case was, that is a significant concern to us," Andrews said.
He said of the 10,931 cases recorded since the pandemic began, at least 1841 were cases where infection could not be traced back to the original source.
Victorian hospitals are treating 379 Covid-19 patients, 24 of them are in ICU on ventilators.
Victoria, where the capital Melbourne is under a reimposed six-week stay-home order, had prided itself early in the pandemic on a tough approach to social distancing. Now the state accounts for about 60 percent of Australia's 17,300 cases.
On Thursday, the state, where wearing face masks is now mandatory, reported a record 723 infections and 13 deaths. Victoria reported 627 new infections and eight deaths on Friday.
'Very detailed work' being done on further restrictions
Andrews said today was "not the day" to announce any further restrictions, but the government was "thinking through all those issues", including the significant cost of tougher measures.
"[But] the numbers are too high and there is a growing case for us to do more," he said.
He said what Victoria had done so far had prevented the state from dealing with thousands and thousands of new cases but "what we may be doing now may not be enough".
"We can't open up again at these sorts of levels and therefore there's very detailed work being done about what possible next steps might look like," he said.
Instead, he repeated a plea for all people to follow coronavirus restrictions.
"You need to think for a moment. Nurses and doctors and ambulance paramedics and others in our health team, they're stepping up and playing their part," he said.
"It's up to you to step up and play yours."
ABC / Reuters