Australia suffers ‘disturbing’ COVID-19 surge

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Australia’s Victoria state reported a record daily increase in COVID-19 cases on Friday while neighbouring New South Wales said it was banning dancing, singing and mingling at weddings as authorities struggle to contain a new wave of infections.

Victoria, which has forced nearly 5 million people in the country’s second most populous state into a partial lockdown for more than a week, said it has found 428 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, most from community transmission.

The Victoria outbreak led to Australia posting its second biggest one-day rise in new COVID-19 infections, with 438 cases. It was largest 24-hour spike since late March, when most cases detected in Australia were people returning from overseas.

“These are large numbers today, that is disturbing,” Australia’s acting Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly told reporters in Canberra before striking a more upbeat note.

“Be patient… we are starting to get on top of the situation in Victoria.”

The surge in new cases reinforced expectations that Victoria will implement tougher restrictions on residents.