One in four not isolating, 627 Vic cases

Jim and Peter Staffieri waiting in the dark outside Epping Gardens Aged Care home

Masks have been compulsory for the past week in the state capital, Melbourne, Australia's second-largest city with 5 million people, and a neighboring semi-rural district.

Premier Daniel Andrews on Thursday said the latest fatalities were three men and three women in their 70s, three men and two women in their 80s, and two men aged in their 90s. "And, as the numbers show, the virus does not discriminate. It rips through workplaces, sweeps through aged-care settings, cuts through communities - and tragically takes lives with it as it goes".

Additionally people in the Colac-Otway, Greater Geelong, Surf Coast, Moorabool, Golden Plains and Borough of Queenscliffe council areas will no longer be able to visit people or host visitors in their homes.

In addition to checking to see if Victorians with the virus are observing self-isolation requirements, Andrews said the public health teams are also delivering groceries and helping folks to fill their medical prescriptions.

"This increase is linked with multiple outbreaks across a range of settings in metropolitan Melbourne", the ministry said in a statement.

In Japan, Tokyo's governor called for restaurants, bars and karaoke parlours to shut earlier as the capital reported a record number of new infections.

Most of those who died were over the age of 70. "So, we can expect more patients from these facilities to be admitted to hospital and potentially have bad outcomes in the coming weeks", he told Al Jazeera from Melbourne.

"It's nearly impossible for us to see businesses recover and survive unless and until we get these numbers down".

"The nature of employment of the staff who work in nursing homes often means that they are actually employed in multiple homes, so the staff can spread the infections from place to place".

The Premier discussed the situation in Victoria with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison overnight.

"On some days the virus wins, on other days we beat it". "I think people will adapt to that".

The scale of economic devastation from the pandemic was laid bare as Western economies recorded historic slumps, just as resurgent caseloads forced many countries into new trade-offs between health and financial stability.

The state now accounts for more than half of the country's 198 deaths from the novel coronavirus and about 60% of the nation's 16,900 cases.

Premier Daniel Andrews has confirmed another 627 new COVID-19 infections in the past 24 hours after a record-breaking 723 new infections yesterday. Queensland closed its borders to people from Sydney on Wednesday.



Other news