Victoria has recorded 288 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the highest daily increase in Australia since the pandemic began.
Premier Daniel Andrews made the shock announcement at a press conference a short time ago, revealing the state’s total now sits at 3397 cases.
“It was always going to get worse before it got better,” Andrews said.
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“I know there will be great concern about these numbers”.
Of the new cases, 26 are connected to contained outbreaks, while 262 are still under investigation.
“Those numbers will jump around a bit. There will be linkages back to other cases, but again the detective work has to be done first,” the Premier said.
There are now more than 1000 active cases across the state, with 47 Victorians in hospital, 12 of those in intensive care.
Mr Andrews said yesterday also saw the state conduct its highest number of tests, with a whopping 37,588 people swabbed.
“That is the biggest single day of testing that has been done and by some considerable margin,” he said.
Victorians living in hotspot areas have now also been requested to wear masks when they are out in public and cannot maintain social distancing.
“It’s a small thing, but our request is that if you are out in metropolitan Melbourne or Mitchell Shire for a lawful purpose and you don’t think you will be able to maintain the 1-.5 metre distance, whether that’s in a cab, uber, on public transport or at the supermarket, if things were quite busy, then we would ask that you wear a mask,” Andrews said.
“That’s a relatively small contribution but one that could make a really big difference.
“We have started the process of getting two million masks made and we will distribute them throughout the community.”
The State’s Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton said the surge in cases was “pretty ugly” and warned the worst could be yet to come.
“We have talked about the fact that we would expect an increase in numbers over time and there was no room for complacency at any point in time,” he said.
“We may well get worse numbers to follow. There is absolutely reassurance in the level of testing we are doing, because in finding those cases they can be identified and close contacts will be contacted and will be in quarantine.
“But it is an indication of the transmission that was occurring a week ago, that’s showing up in the numbers today and we may well see it worsen before it gets better.”
The previous record high daily state total was 212 COVID-19 cases recorded in NSW on March 27.