More deaths and people needing intensive care will be likely in coming days as a result of Victoria’s spike in coronavirus cases, the state’s top health official has warned.
Brett Sutton says the 288 fresh cases reported on July 10 are “pretty ugly” numbers but the virus isn’t yet out of control.
“We will see an increase in hospitalised and ICU cases and in deaths in the coming days because of the spike that we have seen,” Sutton said.
He said it could take up to two weeks before the effects of the lockdown are reflected in the case numbers and things could worsen in the meantime.
Friday’s daily case increase in Victoria was the highest Australia has seen since the pandemic began, even topping NSW’s daily records at the height of the Ruby Princess outbreak.
Sutton and Premier Daniel Andrews echoed the national cabinet’s recommendation for Victorians to start wearing masks in situations where social distancing isn’t possible.
“We are simply asking that if you can wear a mask where you can’t distance, that is exactly what we would like you to do,” Andrews said.
Face masks are not compulsory and no fines will be issued for not wearing one.
Sutton said studies made public in the past couple of weeks had shown that masks can reduce transmission of the virus by about 60 percent.
An inquiry into Victoria’s bungled hotel quarantine scheme, largely linked to the recent surge in cases, will start on July 20.
Andi Yu in Melbourne