Australian COVID-19 death toll surpasses 700
Kathmandu. The death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic has surpassed 700 in Australia after an increase of 59 deaths over the past few months.
The national death toll has more than tripled since August when it was at 200.
As of Friday afternoon, there had been 26,136 confirmed cases of COIVD-19 in Australia, and the number of new cases in the last 24 hours is 89, with 81 in Victoria and eight in New South Wales.
Authorities in the state of Victoria on Friday announced 59 deaths, taking the national death toll to 737 and Victoria’s to 650.
Of the deaths, six were reported since Thursday and three died earlier this month. The remaining 50 were in July and August and the delay in the figures was attributed to a recent change in reporting obligations.
“The State and Federal governments and the aged care sector have worked together to reconcile the data relating to deaths,” said a statement from the Department of Health and Human Services in Victoria on Friday.
“Aged care providers are also now reporting deaths to the state’s Public Health Unit in addition to the Commonwealth and normal reporting mechanisms.”
The National Cabinet made up of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and state and territory leaders met on Friday to discuss Australia’s domestic and international borders.
Following the meeting, Morrison said seven of eight states and territories have agreed in principle to develop a new plan for Australia to reopen by Christmas, including the use of the hotspot concept for travel between jurisdictions, with Western Australia (WA) the exception.
“Seven out of eight states and territories want us to get back to that position in December of this year and I thank them for that commitment,” he told a press conference in Canberra.
Five out of eight states and territories agreed to an agricultural workers code that will facilitate the movement of critical agricultural industry workers across domestic borders where border restrictions are in place.
The National Cabinet also agreed on Friday to boost the capacity for international arrivals where possible, the cap of which is currently set at 4,000 people per week.
It came after Australians stranded overseas said that the cap had made it harder to book flights home.
“We want to get more Australians home and we need to do that safely as well, and not compromise the quarantine arrangements we have here as well,” Morrison said.