COVID-19: Australia's death toll reaches 155; most of them in Victoria

Natasha Chaku

Melbourne, Jul 26 (PTI) The death toll in Australia due to the coronavirus rose to 155 on Sunday, with the country’s second most populous state Victoria registering a record 10 fatalities in the last 24 hours, health officials said.

Seven men and three women died since Saturday while 12 more people succumbed to COVID-19 since Friday, taking the state's death toll to 71, the highest in the country so far.

State Premier Daniel Andrews, in a press briefing, said that 459 new cases have been registered from Saturday.

A total of 228 Victorians were being treated in hospitals for the coronavirus and 42 were in the intensive care unit.

Andrews said that a man in his 40s was the youngest to die from the virus in the state since the pandemic began.

It was not immediately clear if the man had an underlying health condition.

Victorians are currently subject to a six-week lockdown, border closures with other states and mandatory face mask wearing.

''Of the 10 fatalities, seven are linked to aged-care outbreaks,” Andrews said, adding that there are some 560 active cases in the aged care.

“That is a significant challenge, given, whilst we have an overall capacity and we’ve worked very hard throughout the year to grow the number of people that can be available for our fight against this virus in a clinical sense, whenever we have clinical staff and other critical health workers away, furloughed because they are a close contact or in fact as an active case, that does put some additional pressure on our system,” he said.

In a bid to mitigate the virus spread, the Victorian government has released coronavirus advertising with a focus on real-life stories of suffering, similar to smoking and road toll campaigns.

The government has issued multi-language advertisements for TV, radio and social media, illustrating the devastating effects the coronavirus could have on families and younger people.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said that the campaign was aimed to help Victorians 'understand the reality' of the widespread deaths that the state is fighting to avoid.

'It is an unfolding tragedy that is hard to get your head around.

“This is an invisible enemy in lots of ways and when we just talk about numbers, when we talk about reproduction numbers and transmissibility, that doesn't bring it home like understanding the genuine consequences for people does,” Sutton said.

On Sunday, New South Wales reported 14 new cases, Western Australia two while no new cases were reported from other states including Queensland and South Australia in the last 24 hours. PTI NC CPS

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