Victoria has reported more than 700 new Covid-19 cases in the state.
The 723 cases mark the highest daily tally of the pandemic in the Australian state, shattering the previous single-day total by almost 200 cases.
Today, 13 new deaths were announced, another daily high. They were three men and three women in their 70s, three men and two women in their 80s, and two men in their 90s.
From midnight Sunday, face coverings will be mandatory throughout Victoria.
The government will also impose restrictions on face-to-face gatherings in some regional local government areas from midnight tonight.
“It’s inconvenient, it’s challenging, but it’s essentially stage four for Melbourne, and it’s something we can do in regional Victoria without causing significant economic cost, but getting a really significant public health benefit,” Premier Daniel Andrews said at a media briefing.
Residents in Greater Geelong, Surf Coast, Moorabool, Golden Plains, Colac-Otway and the Borough of Queenscliffe will not be allowed to host visitors, weddings or funerals at their homes.
Andrews said the restrictions were designed to tackle family-to-family transmission. Hospitality venues would be allowed to remain open.
“I know that it may seem counterintuitive that you can go to the pub but you can’t go to your mate’s place,” he said.
“But ultimately … the data drives that decision. That’s where the transmission is. It’s not in cafes and restaurants, but it is, in small numbers, in people’s homes. One family to another.”