Victoria has recorded 374 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday just a day after a lower total offered a glimmer of hope the current surge was stabilising.
The daunting figure makes it the second highest daily total for any state since the pandemic began, while it is the fourth time in the last six days the total has surpassed 300.
The total comes after the state recorded 275 new cases on Monday, nearly 100 lower than Sunday’s 363 total, offering hope to health authorities that the surge in cases had begun to stabilise.
The figure will likely mean the Victorian government is now weighing up the option of further restrictions, with Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton warning “everything is still on the table” just days ago.
Yet despite the total, Premier Daniel Andrews said it was difficult to analyse the outbreak from a single day’s cases, and overall it appeared the current lockdown was working.
"You'd like to see numbers coming down. At the end of the day, we're not seeing the doubling and doubling again,” he said.
“So what that says to me … is that the sorts of measures we have put in place are having a direct impact.”
Victoria’s death toll continues to grow
Mr Andrews confirmed a further three deaths, taking the state’s death toll to 42 and the national death toll to 126.
The victims are a woman in her 100s, a woman in her 90s and a woman in her 80s.
There were 29,464 tests performed in the previous 24 hours.
Of the new 374 cases, 62 are linked to known outbreaks while 312 are under investigation.
There are now currently 3,078 active cases in the state.
Daily figures ‘a rollercoaster’
Cases have fluctuated from day to day over the last week, with Professor Sutton describing it as a "rollercoaster of numbers".
He said while some hard-hit postcodes were now recording much fewer cases, others were growing.
From Thursday, Melbourne’s residents must wear face masks or coverings in public places, with Prof Sutton hoping the measure will drive daily cases down.
“I hope that mask wearing as a universal setting will make a really significant difference in the transmission risk,” he said.
Victoria's Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said further details were imminent on who is to receive the government’s free reusable masks.
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