Virus spreading faster than ever before


The coronavirus is spreading faster than ever before as the World Health Organisation reported the largest single-day increase in cases.

Its figures show there have been more than 183,000 new cases in the latest 24 hours globally.

Brazil led the way with 54,771 cases tallied and the US next at 36,617. Over 15,400 came in in India. Experts said rising case counts can reflect multiple factors including more widespread testing as well as broader infection.

In Australia, Victoria is bracing for a spike in coronavirus cases today meaning a second wave of COVID-19 hitting Australia is a "distinct possibility".

Victoria confirmed another 19 cases yesterday making a total of 160 new cases in the past week, up from 35 the previous week. The only other cases reported on Sunday were five in NSW and one in Western Australia, all returned travellers in hotel quarantine. 

There are now 7461 virus cases confirmed across Australia since the initial outbreak. The death toll remains at 102.

Follow our live coverage below.

Originally published as Virus spreading faster than ever before

Shoppers get tested for before entering stores

Benjamin Graham

A spike in coronavirus cases in Victoria has not scared people away from crowded shopping centres, causing concern to those working in them.

COVID-19 testing centres have been set up at popular shopping centres, but some shoppers have been seen leaving testing centres and going straight into stores or, going directly to a testing centre after shopping, according to retail union SDA.

The union is contacting Premier Daniel Andrews and Australia's Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth asking for action to be taken as Victoria records a fifth day of double-digit coronavirus cases.

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Driving tests back in NSW in July

Benjamin Graham

Driver testing will be back at full capacity from 1 July, thanks to easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said all customers would be able to book a driver test online, via phone or in a Service NSW Centre.

"Appropriate safeguards will remain in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19, such as disposable seat covers, hand sanitiser and gloves. Customers will also need to sign a statutory declaration confirming they are well enough to take the test," he said.

Victoria spike 'could have happened anywhere'

Benjamin Graham

The surge in coronavirus cases in Victoria could have happened anywhere in Australia, said Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth.

"The fact that it happens to be Victoria is no reflection on the health service or the quality of the public health unit and we have got to remember that numbers are going up around the world," he told Sunrise this morning.

"Even hotel quarantine is not a perfect system, so we can expect outbreaks, we can expect cases, the important thing is that we get them under control as quickly as possible."

Restrictions on NSW-Victoria border could be announced today

Benjamin Graham

Travel restrictions on the NSW-Victoria border could be announced today.

On Sunrise this morning, NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said his government was usually in favour of keeping state borders open but that the developing situation in Victoria was "particularly worrying".

"There's a real threat across the border in Victoria," he said.

He said the government today may announce "some kinds of limits around travel across the border, but maybe not closing the border as a whole."

"It's more about managing who's coming across the border and what we do on this side," he said.

It comes as the ski season has officially kicked off in NSW and Victoria today after weeks of delay due to the coronavirus.

But it will not be quite business as usual, with social distancing rules in place and lift passes needing to be pre- purchased at some spots.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian will hold a press conference in just over an hour.

Brazil virus deaths hit 50,000

Benjamin Graham

Brazil, the world's No.2 coronavirus hotspot after the United States, officially passed 50,000 coronavirus deaths in a blow for a country already grappling with more than one million cases, rising political instability and a crippled economy.

Brazil on Sunday has a total of 1,085,038 confirmed cases and 50,617 deaths, up from 49,976 on Saturday, the Health Ministry said.

Experts say the true numbers are a lot higher because of a lack of widespread testing.

Victorians advised to steer clear of six areas

Benjamin Graham

Victorians have been issued a warning and advised to avoid travelling to and from six local government areas where coronavirus outbreaks have occurred until the source of community transmission has been identified.

On Sunday, the Victorian Government identified Hume, Casey, Brimbank, Moreland, Cardinia and Darebin as the focus of current COVID-19 outbreaks as the state's number of active cases reached 121. The areas cover large parts of Melbourne's west, northwest, north and southeast.

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'People can't relax' says Plibersek

Benjamin Graham

Tanya Plibersek has just appeared on ABC News Breakfast, where she was asked about the situation in Victoria.

"It is not about opinions at a time like this. It is about what our health experts advise us. I would advise the Victorian Government and the New South Wales Government and the Federal Government to work cooperatively, based on the best medical advice," she said.

"I think the one thing we can say for certain is that people can't relax, they can't believe for a moment that this health crisis is over."

Why states should stay closed

Benjamin Graham

A new report from the Grattan Institute has suggested keeping state borders shut amid the coronavirus pandemic could help in stopping the spread of the virus.

The advice goes against the guidance coming from the Federal Government to allow people to travel between states, with state and territory leaders being urged to open up their borders.

The report "Coming out of COVID Lockdown: The next steps for Australian health care" suggests that as Victorian cases surge, other states could be at risk of people bringing coronavirus into their states.

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Massive spike in US virus infections

Benjamin Graham

There have now more than 2.3 million known coronavirus in the United States, where nearly 120,000 have died.

The US is the world's worst-hit country, where the pandemic has put 40 million more out of work.

Overnight, President Donald Trump said he he ordered slowdown in coronavirus testing.

He described testing as a "double-edged sword", saying: "When you do testing to that extent you're going to find more people."

"You're going to find more cases, so I said to my people, 'Slow the testing down please.'

"They test and they test and we got tests - people don't know what's going on. We got tests, 'We got another one over here'."

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