Australia’s virus death toll rises to 189

Thirteen more people have died from the coronavirus on Australia’s deadliest day of the pandemic.

Victoria has broken its own record for new cases, with 723 recorded across the state on Thursday.

The national death toll is now 189.

Face masks will be mandatory across Victoria from Sunday and people across six coastal and regional council areas will be banned from visiting each other at home.

Aged care continues to be Victoria’s disaster hotspot, with up to 10 of the 13 latest victims linked to nursing homes.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has warned private aged care providers about not using protective personal equipment correctly.

“Failure to comply with those requirements of using PPE will lead to marking down on people’s accreditation,” he said.

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee is meeting to determine further advice to combat the surging Victorian infections.

“We can’t rule out further restrictions or limitations to stem this outbreak,” Mr Morrison said.

But he doesn’t expect other states to ramp up anti-virus measures, noting NSW has been able to track the source of new cases.

The prime minister said the increase in deaths was the most concerning issue.

“We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there is some golden immunity that Australian has in relation to this virus.”

Mr Morrison said about 50 cases a day have no known source.

“That is the primary cause for concern,” he said.

The first of five Australian Medical Assistance Teams, usually tasked with disaster relief in critical health situations, has arrived in Melbourne.

There are more than 1400 Defence Force personnel already on the ground in the state. 

NSW recorded 18 new cases, with just two coming from returned travellers in hotel quarantine.

Queensland is bracing for an outbreak of community transmission after two teenagers with coronavirus dodged quarantine.

A major contact tracing investigation has been launched after the 19-year-olds roamed free before testing positive for the disease.

Mr Morrison said all state premiers should release the health advice behind border closures, with Queensland banning Sydneysiders and WA maintaining a hard border to all other states and territories.

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