Sydney, July 17 (Reuters) Australia’s Victoria state reported a daily increase in COVID-19 cases on Friday, while neighboring New South Wales said it was banning dancing, singing and grooming at weddings as authorities transitioned. Has struggled to contain a new wave of.
Victoria, which has forced about 5 million people in the country’s second-most populous state in partial lockdown for more than a week, said it had found 428 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours.
Such is the size of the Victoria outbreak, with Australia posting its largest one-day rise in new COVID-19 infections since late March, with many states still to report.
The findings raised hopes that Victoria would be forced to enforce strict restrictions on its residents, which would in turn harm Australia’s national economy.
“We are in the fight for our lives,” Victoria State Health Minister Jenny Mikakos told reporters in Melbourne.
Australia has reported just over 11,000 cases of COVID-19.
In Victoria, the death toll rose to 116 after three deaths on Friday, still below many other countries.
Neither dancing nor malting
The escalation of COVID-19 cases in Victoria, however, has raised concerns of a national second wave, leading to internal border closures and renewed social far-reaching restrictions in neighboring states.
Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales (NSW), said it had detected eight cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, with most community broadcasts believed to be originating from Victoria.
To cover the spread, NSW head of state Gladys Berejikalian said that new restrictions would be imposed from next week.
Funeral and places of worship will not be allowed to more than 100 people. Locations should also ensure that they have 4 square meters of space per patron.
150 people will attend weddings in the state, Berejikalian said, and they should remain seated.
“Neither dancing, nor singing, nor mingling,” Berejikalian told reporters in Sydney.
Less than a month ago, Australia was widely respected as a global leader in combating COVID-19.
But security lapses in Victoria caused people to return to spread the virus from overseas, triggering an investigation into how the state was on the verge of increasing the number of virus infections.
Victoria state head Daniel Andrews is under pressure, running a front page of one of Australia’s best-selling newspapers with the title: “Dan-made disaster.”
The increase in COVID-19 cases reduces any expectation of an accelerated economic rebound in Australia.
Damaged by national social far-reaching sanctions imposed in March, Australia is in for its first recession in nearly three decades, while unemployment reached a 22-year high, data showed on Thursday.
Australia’s hopes of introducing a “travel bubble” with neighboring country New Zealand have also been delayed. Australia and New Zealand expected each other to open their borders in September.
Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Lincoln Feast.