After exactly a month of incredible virus stats, Australia’s amazing streak came to an end today, amid Victoria’s COVID-19 spike.
After exactly a month of incredible virus stats, Australia’s amazing streak came to an end today, amid Victoria’s COVID-19 spike.

Australia’s 31-day virus record broken

Victoria has been in the spotlight again today after recording the country's first coronavirus death in more than a month, with cases across the state continuing to spike.

There have been some pretty significant developments in the past 24 hours, so let's take you through what happened.

A man in his 80s died from COVID-19 overnight in Victoria, bringing the states death toll to 20 and the national toll to 103.

It is the first death linked to the virus in Australia since May 23 and comes as Victoria experiences a disturbing surge in cases.

The state recorded 20 new coronavirus cases since yesterday, making it the eighth day of double digit increases in cases.

Ten new coronavirus cases have also been recorded in NSW in the past 24 hours, however all of them are returned travellers in hotel quarantine.

Victoria recorded 20 new coronavirus cases today. Picture: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images
Victoria recorded 20 new coronavirus cases today. Picture: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

TODAY'S TOP DEVELOPMENTS

Outbreaks across Victoria have given way to a re-emergence of panic buying, forcing major supermarkets to bring back product limits.

Woolworths have enforced purchase limits of two items on toilet paper, hand sanitiser, paper towel, flour, sugar, pasta, mince, UHT milk, eggs and rice across its stores in the state this afternoon.

Coles also confirmed it will be reintroducing buying limits on multiple grocery items in Victoria, with each shopper now only able to buy one pack of toilet paper and paper towel.

Hand sanitiser, flour, sugar, pasta, mince, UHT milk, eggs and rice are all limited to two packs per customer.

The purchase limits are now in place at all Coles supermarkets in Victoria, as well as Lavington, Albury and Deniliquin in NSW as these three stores are replenished from its Victorian distribution centres.

This comes after pictures started to emerge on social media of empty toilet paper shelves, leading customers to fear a "second wave" of panic buying was on the horizon.

Testing facilities in Melbourne have been overwhelmed in recent days after seeing a surge in people wanting to be tested for the virus.

Several centres across the city were forced to close before 9am this morning after queues spilt out onto the street.

The demand is so high that some people have been forced to wait up to four hours due to delays at drive-through testing sites at shopping centres.

The Australian Defence Force and other states, including NSW, SA, Tasmania and Queensland, have been called to help Victoria get the virus outbreak under control.

"This support will mean we can get even more tests done and results back quickly - and a stronger effort to remind Victorians if you are sick, stay home and get tested," a government spokeswoman said in a statement.

Community engagement in the local government areas of Brimbank, Casey, Cardinia, Darebin, Hume and Moreland has been ramped up, including doorknocking, after they were identified as coronavirus hotspots.

Officials are so concerned by the growing number of cases in these areas that they are considering introducing a lockdown for these hotspot suburbs.

Long lines of cars wait for hours for a COVID-19 test in Melbourne. Picture: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images
Long lines of cars wait for hours for a COVID-19 test in Melbourne. Picture: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos suggested introducing some stay at home orders would be a better approach than locking down entire local government areas over outbreaks.

"Our government has said that if the public health advice from our experts is to reintroduce stay at home legal directions, in particular locations we will consider doing that, we won't rule that out," Ms Mikakos told ABC Radio National Breakfast.

"Clearly some people think the pandemic is over. It's not over. We want people to remain at a heightened sense of awareness about physical distancing."

This comes as residents from these hotspot areas ignored blunt advice from NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian not to visit.

In an extraordinary warning she's also urged holiday resorts to reject school holiday bookings from families from the hot spot Melbourne suburbs, describing the option as "basic pandemic management".

However, many people are apparently ignoring this advice, with hundreds arriving at Sydney Airport on flights from Melbourne yesterday.

One of them, Melbourne resident Yu Zhao Zhang, told the ABC he knew risks were increasing but didn't want to cancel.

"I saw the 'reconsider travel' warning, but I had already booked my ticket," he said.

This morning, Today show host Karl Stefanovic put it to Ms Berejiklian that her warnings were "excessive".

However, she defended her stance, saying she would expected the Victorian premier to give the same warning if the outbreak was occurring in Sydney.

"It reminds all of us about how contagious the virus is and if one or two people unintentionally spread it to others it can get out of control and that's why I'm far from complacent," she said.

Originally published as Australia's 31-day virus record broken


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