Victoria coronavirus outbreak grows with another big spike in cases

Victoria has announced 275 new coronavirus cases as its COVID-19 crisis rolls on.

While the daily total in recent days has begun to yo-yo, it has consistently sat above 200, proving a daunting task for health authorities in their bid to trace and curtail community transmission.

The state recorded 363 new cases on Sunday, while Friday’s record state total of 428 delivered Australia’s second worst day since the pandemic began.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced a woman in her 80s has died from the virus, taking the state’s death toll to 39.

“We can’t afford to ignore the absolute truth of what we face and that is that this virus is not yet contained,” he said on Monday.

Mr Andrews said the fluctuating numbers “shows you that it is a wicked enemy”.

Premier Dan Andrews now faces a mammoth challenge in curtailing the current outbreak spreading throughout Melbourne. Source: AAP
Premier Dan Andrews faces a mammoth challenge in curtailing the current outbreak spreading throughout Melbourne. Source: AAP

He was reluctant to say whether today’s decrease of nearly 100 showed numbers were stabilising.

“It is unable and until we bring some stability to this, we won't be able to talk about a trend,” he said.

There are now 147 Victorians in hospital with 31 of those in intensive care.

There were more than 26,000 tests performed on Sunday.

Mask wearing compulsory as coronavirus outbreak grows

From Thursday, face masks will be made compulsory in public settings across metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire. Those not complying can face a fine of $200.

The government announced on Monday students required to be in the classroom from this week would be among the first to receive free masks.

"We already have 1.2 million single use masks and we will be distributing those to all government schools in Melbourne metro and Mitchell shire over the coming couple of days and we will also be providing these single use masks for our Catholic and independent schools," Education Minister James Merlino told reporters.

An order of 1.37 million reusable masks has been made and the Department of Education will be one of the first to receive a batch of them.

Following reports of price gouging, Mr Andrews urged people not to cash in on the compulsory order.

He also said face coverings such as handkerchiefs and scarves are allowed.

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