Australian COVID-19 death toll surpasses 500 after 17 new deaths reported

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CANBERRA, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) — Australia has recorded more than 500 coronavirus deaths seven months after diagnosing its first case of the virus.

As of Sunday afternoon there had been 502 deaths from COVID-19 in Australia, an increase of 17 from 485 on Saturday.

All 17 of the deaths were in Victoria and 11 were linked to aged care facilities. It takes Victoria’s death toll to 415.

It has taken six days for Australia’s death toll to rise from 400 to 500.

By comparison it took seven days for the toll to climb from 300 to 400 and nine days for it to rise from 200 to 300.

As of Sunday afternoon Australia had confirmed 24,812 cases of COVID-19, and the number of news cases in the last 24 hours is 216, according to the latest figures from Australian government’s department of health.

Of the new cases, Victoria confirmed 208, the state’s highest tally in three days.

“Within Victoria, 46 of the new cases are linked to outbreaks or complex cases and 162 are under investigation,” said a statement from the Department of Health and Human Services in Victoria on Sunday.

The department also said that there are 1,616 active cases relating to aged care facilities and 536 active cases among healthcare workers in the state.

New South Wales recorded four new cases and Queensland, where restrictions on gathering sizes were reimposed on Saturday over fears of community transmission of the virus, has confirmed two more.

Paul Kelly, Australia’s acting chief medical officer (CMO), said on Saturday that he was “very confident” that authorities in Queensland would prevent mass outbreaks of the virus similar to those in Victoria.

“We don’t have any outbreaks in aged care right now but with that cluster of cases, we believe that there is a need to really think and work closely together to prevent that happening and to respond if it does happen,” he said. Enditem

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