Australia borders to remain shut as coronavirus deaths rise

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Victoria state, which is home to Melbourne, the country's second-biggest city and the epicenter of its second coronavirus wave, reported 19 people died from the virus over the past 24 hours. — Courtesy photo
Victoria state, which is home to Melbourne, the country's second-biggest city and the epicenter of its second coronavirus wave, reported 19 people died from the virus over the past 24 hours. — Courtesy photo

SYDNEY — Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said internal border closures is likely to remain closed before Christmas, as the country on Monday reported a record single-day increase in coronavirus deaths, Reuters reported.

However, daily new infections in the state of Victoria slowed to a near two week low as a result of drastic lockdown measures imposed in the city of Melbourne.

"I am more hopeful of that today than I was in the course of the past week," Morrison said in the Australian capital of Canberra, as he called on state leaders to cooperate to allow stranded residents to return home.

Australia's federal political system has led to its eight states and territories taking different measures in response to the crisis, resulting in several internal border closures.

Victoria state, which is home to Melbourne, the country's second-biggest city and the epicenter of its second coronavirus wave, reported 19 people died from the virus over the past 24 hours.

Other states still haven't posted their daily totals but the 19 deaths reported in Victoria over the past 24 hours already mark the country's highest single-day rise in fatalities.

However, Victoria officials also reported 322 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, the lowest single-day rise in new infections since July 29.

Melbourne, home to nearly 5 million people, has been in lockdown since early July, with people largely confined to their homes and business shuttered.

State Premier Daniel Andrews said on Monday he understood frustrations but declined to put an end date on the lockdown. — Agencies


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