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Victoria's record 21 deaths 'relatively modest' figure says health chief

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Australia has recorded its deadliest day of the coronavirus pandemic after 21 people died in Victoria and another 410 people tested positive, but the state’s Chief Health Officer described the death toll as “relatively modest”.

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The deaths take the state toll to 267 and the national toll to 352.

Two women and a man in their 70s, six women and five men in their 80s, five men and a woman in their 90s, and a woman in her 100s are the latest victims, Premier Daniel Andrews revealed on Wednesday.

Sixteen of those who succumbed to the virus were linked to aged care.

Victorian authorities had warned deaths would continue to rise given the number of people in hospital with the virus.

More than 660 Victorians have been hospitalised with 43 in intensive care and 25 on ventilators.

More than 160 of Victoria’s overall deaths have been from aged care homes.

“I can confirm 476 aged care residents have been transferred from residential aged care to hospital due to coronavirus outbreaks,” Mr Andrews told reporters.

There are 1929 active cases amongst aged care residents, including six in state government-managed public facilities and 1923 in private centres, which are overseen by the federal government.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton told a state parliamentary inquiry 20 deaths a day was “relatively modest” compared to what was happening in other parts of the world.

Wednesday’s record number of deaths comes amid a war of words between the state and federal governments over Victoria’s botched hotel quarantine scheme.

Mr Andrews has said the Australian Defence Force had not been on offer to guard the hotels when the scheme began.

But federal Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said ADF support was offered to Victoria on multiple occasions.

State Jobs Minister Martin Pakula, whose department co-ordinated the hotel quarantine scheme, is due to face the inquiry on Wednesday.

-AAP

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