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Victorian virus deaths rise but cases fall

National

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

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The Department of Health and Human Services confirmed the figures on Monday, which takes the state’s death toll from the virus to 228 and the national figure to 313.

The number of deaths confirmed on Monday is still 19 but Victoria has removed a death reported on Sunday due to duplication, resulting in the overall state and national tallies being cut by one.

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,”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.

More than 270 people have been fined for breaching coronavirus restrictions in Victoria, including five caught drinking together in a garage.

Victoria Police conducted 3879 spot checks on homes, businesses and public places in the past 24 hours and fined 276 people.

They include 74 people fined $1652 for breaching Melbourne’s 8pm-5am curfew and 37 fined $200 for failing to wear a face mask, police said on Monday.

A group of five people was caught by police drinking, smoking and listening to loud music in a garage in Wyndham, in Melbourne’s outer south-western suburbs, following a noise complaint.

They will each receive a $1652 fine.

Another group of four men, all from different addresses, were fined after “hanging out” in a Campbellfield car park.

A couple were caught travelling beyond 5km to go to a playground in Wyndham to play with their children because they were “sick of walking around their local area”.

Under stage four restrictions applying to metropolitan Melbourne, people must stay at home between 8pm and 5am, unless they need to leave for work, medical care or caregiving.

Outside of those hours, residents can’t leave home unless they are shopping for food or essential items, for exercise, or for permitted work and must stay within a 5km radius of their homes.

Under stage three restrictions applying to regional Victoria and Mitchell Shire, stay-at-home restrictions are in effect.

All Victorians must wear a face mask when they leave home.

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