Australia records its deadliest day of the coronavirus pandemic

Australia has suffered its deadliest day of the coronavirus pandemic so far, after 21 people died from the infection on Wednesday.

The deaths, which were recorded in Victoria, dented hopes that a second wave gripping the state may be stabilising.

The number was two higher than the previous deadliest days earlier this week.

The biggest daily rise in infections in three days was also recorded, with 410 new cases in the past 24 hours, ending a run of three consecutive days with new infections below 400.

A couple walks on a footbridge over the Yarra River in the Southbank district of Melbourne on August 12, 2020, during a strict stage four lockdown of the city due to a COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. - Australia's worst-hit state of Victoria appears to be curbing a virus outbreak after a week of tougher restrictions, authorities said on August 12, with new cases falling in recent days even as fatalities topped records. (Photo by William WEST / AFP) (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)
A couple walk over a footbridge on the Yarra River in Melbourne. (Getty)

A cluster of infections in Victoria’s capital Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, forced authorities last week to impose lockdown measures including a night curfew, tightened restrictions on people’s daily movements and the closure of large parts of the state economy.

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews said that while the number of cases were trending down, the impact of the strict new measures was yet to show up in the case numbers.

He said: “We all know that a week is not the life cycle of this virus ... and our experts remain firm in the view that this will drive the numbers down.”

To view this content, you'll need to update your privacy settings.
Please click here to do so.

Only Victoria and the country’s most populous state, New South Wales (NSW), reported fresh COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, with a total of 428 infections detected in the past 24 hours.

The virus has been effectively eliminated outside of Victoria and NSW.

Authorities in NSW are trying to trace infections linked to a new cluster at a school in Sydney, which has raised fears of more widespread community transmission than previously known in the country’s biggest city.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 12: People enjoy their 1 hour of exercise in Carlton Gardens on August 12, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. Victoria has recorded 410 new coronavirus cases overnight, along with 21 COVID-19 deaths, the highest daily death toll since the pandemic began in Australia. Metropolitan Melbourne is under stage 4 lockdown restrictions, with people only allowed to leave home to give or receive care, shopping for food and essential items, daily exercise and work while an overnight curfew from 8pm to 5am is also in place. The majority of retail businesses are also closed. Other Victorian regions are in stage 3 lockdown. The restrictions, which came into effect from 2 August, have been introduced by the Victorian government as health authorities work to reduce community COVID-19 transmissions across the state. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)
People enjoy their one hour of exercise in Carlton Gardens in Melbourne. (Getty)

NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian said businesses could face additional restrictions to prevent further clusters developing.

She added: “We’ve given certainly a grace period for businesses, for organisations, for different establishments to step up their COVID safe plans and if they don’t do that we will have to go a step further.”

Australia has reported just over 22,000 infections and 352 deaths from the virus, far fewer on a per capita basis than many other countries.

With around 1,500 confirmed cases and 22 deaths, neighbouring New Zealand’s exposure to the virus remains well below the majority of nations.

But it also recently had new cases of the virus after 102 days with no local transmissions.

Coronavirus: what happened today

Click here to sign up to the latest news and information with our daily Catch-up newsletter