Australia’s hard-hit Victoria state reported a record 484 new COVID-19 cases and health authorities warned that numbers could continue to rise.
Australia’s authorities had hoped the number of infections would decrease as its second-largest city, Melbourne, is now on a lock-down for two weeks, they had hoped the infection rate would begin to plateau.
“Certainly we’re at a really, really challenging phase of this pandemic,” Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said.
“We can’t necessarily expect numbers to go down. I think that will be an even greater challenge in days ahead. That means that we’re going to look at 500-600 cases per day. I absolutely don’t want us to go there,” Sutton added.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said people had to self-isolate when they become sick.
He said nine out of 10 people did not self-isolate between having symptoms and being tested. More than half did not self-isolate between when they were tested and when they got the results.
Andrews also announced two more deaths, both men in their 90’s, bringing the national death toll to 128.
The use of face masks will become mandatory from Thursday for residents in lock-down regions when they leave their homes.
Six prisons in Victoria were placed into total lock-down on Tuesday after a staff member tested positive at one of the crowded facilities.
Australian Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd said the nation’s tally of 502 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday reached a new record. The fact that Australia recorded only two new cases on June 9 demonstrated how quickly outbreaks can spread, he said.
Some other developments include:
The U.S. Justice Department says hackers working with the Chinese government targeted firms developing corona virus vaccines and stole hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of intellectual property and trade secrets from companies worldwide.
The indictment says the hackers researched vulnerabilities in the computer networks of Massachusetts and Maryland companies known for their work in developing vaccines and treatments. The case was filed this month in Washington state and unsealed Tuesday.