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World News

Cases rise in Australia's virus hotspot, but most linked to known outbreaks

FILE PHOTO: A man runs along a waterway after lockdown restrictions were implemented in response to an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Melbourne, Australia, July 10, 2020. REUTERS/Sandra Sanders/File Photo

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia’s coronavirus hotspot of Victoria state on Tuesday reported a slight rise in new cases, but authorities sought to allay fears by saying they could link most of those infections to known outbreaks.

Victoria, Australia’s second-most populous state, reported one death from the virus in the last 24 hours and 15 cases, its biggest daily rise in infections in five days.

“They are, again, predominantly related to known cases, to outbreaks, and we have to get on top of these outbreaks to really drive these numbers down,” state’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton told reporters in Melbourne.

“I don’t like to see a number that’s in double figures and not in single figures, and no-one obsesses over the daily numbers more than me or my team.”

Victoria brought its one-day rise in cases down to single digits in recent days thanks to strict restrictions after daily new cases peaked at more than 700 in early August.

The key indicator of 14-day average cases in Melbourne, the state capital, eased further to 10.6 on Tuesday from 11.6 a day earlier. Authorities may ease some restrictions in Melbourne if average cases fall below five.

Meanwhile Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales (NSW), reported no cases of local transmission for the 11th straight day. NSW logged 11 new cases - all in hotel quarantine. Queensland reported no cases.

Australia has so far reported 895 deaths and just over 27,100 COVID-19 cases, far less than many developed countries.

Reporting by Renju Jose; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

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