Victoria said on Monday it is considering reimposing social distancing restrictions after the country reported its biggest one-day rise in new coronavirus infections in more than two months.
Propelled by Victoria state reporting 75 cases, Australia recorded 85 new COVID-19 infections in the past 24 hours, its biggest daily outbreak since April 11.
Australia has fared better than many countries in the coronavirus pandemic, with around 7,800 cases and 104 deaths, but the recent surge has stoked fears of a second wave after several weeks of fewer than 20 new cases a day.
The resurgence in Australia comes as total infections hit 10 million cases worldwide and the global death toll from the virus tops half a million people.
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As new coronavirus cases have mounted, Victoria has embarked on a massive testing regime and the state’s chief health officer said the state may need to re-introduce social distancing restrictions.
“Changing the law is something we have to consider because we have to do whatever is required to turn this around,” Chief Medical Officer Brett Sutton told reporters in Melbourne, referring to questions about enforcing localised lockdowns.
Victorian state officials last week deployed ambulances and mobile test centres in a bid to test most residents in 10 hotspot suburbs.
However, some locals declined the voluntary throat and nasal swab tests. Victoria is hoping a new saliva test, which is less intrusive, will encourage more people to get tested - even though it is slightly less accurate.
“We think it will play a role in bolstering testing reach across the state,” said Professor Sharon Lewin,...