Masks a must in Victoria state

Updated: 20 July, 2020 09:08 IST | Agencies | Melbourne

Two men and a woman in their 90s died, taking the national death toll from COVID-19 to 122. The new rule will be enforced from 11.59 pm on Wednesday night

Anyone who fails to wear a mask could be fined 200 Australian dollars (Rs 10,479) with some exceptions. Pic/AFP
Anyone who fails to wear a mask could be fined 200 Australian dollars (Rs 10,479) with some exceptions. Pic/AFP

After a one-day respite, COVID-19 cases in the Australian state of Victoria rose again, prompting a move to make masks mandatory in metropolitan Melbourne and the nearby shire of Mitchell. Health officials on Sunday recorded 363 new cases in the past 24 hours. Two men and a woman in their 90s died, taking the national death toll from COVID-19 to 122. The new rule will be enforced from 11.59 pm on Wednesday night.

"There's no vaccine to this wildly infectious virus, and it's a simple thing but it's about changing habits," state Premier Daniel Andrews. "Common sense" will guide the new rules, and despite being mandatory, Andrews advised the measure be done "whenever practical". "If you are out of your home for one of the four (permitted) reasons, then you need to be wearing a mask and I stress it need not be a hospital-grade mask," he said, adding, "Any face covering is better than no face-covering."

Victoria is currently struggling with the second wave of coronavirus cases that has taken the state's death toll to 38 as of Sunday and the national toll to 122. "About 80 per cent of our new cases since mid-May are being driven by transmission in workplaces," Andrews said.

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First Published: 20 July, 2020 08:41 IST

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