Australian state to make face masks compulsory after rise in coronavirus cases

30 July 2020, 15:38

People wearing face masks outside Melbourne's iconic Flinders Street Station
People wearing face masks outside Melbourne's iconic Flinders Street Station. Picture: PA

By Matt Drake

The Australian state of Victoria is making face coverings compulsory for whenever people leave their home after a rise in coronavirus cases.

Victoria is introducing the measures after reporting a new daily high of 723 confirmed coronavirus cases and a further 13 deaths.

Masks have been compulsory in Victoria's state capital of Melbourne and a neighbouring semi-rural district for the past week.

But Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said on Thursday that masks or other face coverings will be compulsory for the whole state beginning late on Sunday.

In addition, residents around the city of Geelong will not be allowed to have visitors in their homes from late on Thursday.

The 723 new cases exceeded the previous high of 532 cases posted Monday, while the state also reported a new daily high of 13 deaths.

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Melbourne and neighbouring Mitchell Shire are halfway through a six-week lockdown, which Mr Andrews said could be extended.

On Monday Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for patience in the state.

"There has been significant community transmission in Victoria. That will take some time to get on top of," Mr Morrison said.

Despite the rise in cases, Australia has only had 189 deaths associated with Covid-19, with 105 of those occurring in Victoria.

Many governments around the world, including the UK, have introduced further coronavirus measures in response to an increase in cases.

But many experts have dismissed the notion of a "second wave" as the rate of death is slowing.

An increase in cases has also been attributed to an increase in testing for the virus.

It was an increase in cases in southern Spain which led to Britain to advise tourists not to travel there unless it is absolutely necessary.

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