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Nine deadly days: Victoria's most tragic toll yet as tally soars past 300

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Victoria has yet again recorded its deadliest day of the pandemic with 19 deaths and 322 new cases.

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It is the latest in a string of nine deadly days that have seen Australia’s coronavirus death toll swell from 200 to more than 300.

The announcement of 19 deaths today means Australia’s toll now stands at 313, with 228 of those in Victoria. It has taken Australia five months to reach the milestone following the first coronavirus death of Perth man James Kwan on March 1.

The country’s 100th death was Alice Bacon, a 93-year-old resident of Newmarch House in NSW, who died in May 78 days after the country’s first fatality.  It took 175 days for Australia’s coronavirus death toll to then double, with a man who was part of the Crossroads Hotel cluster and three deaths in Victoria pushing the toll to 201 on August 1.

The passing of the 300 mark comes after the record daily number of deaths was beaten twice in this past week.

The 19 deaths reported today marks Australia’s second consecutive day of record deaths. On Sunday there were 16 deaths while the previous highest came on August 5 with 15 deaths.

The latest Victorian victims are a man in his 50s, a woman in her 60s, two men in their 70s, one man and six women in their 80s, and one man and seven women in their 90s.

Fourteen of the 19 deaths are linked to aged care outbreaks.

The previous record for the highest number of fatalities was 16 on Sunday.

But Monday’s case numbers are the lowest in 13 days, Premier Daniel Andrews said.

Metropolitan Melbourne has been under tough stage-four restrictions – including an 8pm-5am curfew – since August 2, while regional Victoria is under stage-three measures.

The lockdowns are in place until September 13.

“This strategy is difficult, it’s heartbreaking, it’s very challenging, but it’s the only one that will drive down movement across Victoria and, therefore, drive down case numbers and that’s what we have to be focused on,” Mr Andrews told reporters.

The state on Monday open testing to more vulnerable populations, including people housebound due to disability or chronic health conditions.

“We are starting a call-to-test program that will enable someone to call our coronavirus hotline, they’ll be assessed by a nurse through that hotline and, with a GP referral, we will go to them,” Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said.

“This is designed to ensure that approximately 200 vulnerable Victorians every day will have access to this new testing capacity.”

The government has also launched a new health campaign to emphasise the devastating health impacts of COVID-19 on those who contract it.

Andrews on Sunday warned the effect of stage four restrictions could take some time to be reflected in the state’s figures.

“So we’re probably seeing the tail end of the stabilisation that was the product of the stage three rules,” he said.

“Obviously, any day where there are fewer cases than the previous day is a good one.”

Metropolitan Melbourne has been under tough stage-four restrictions – including an 8pm-5am curfew – since August 2, while regional Victoria is under stage-three measures.

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