Australia on track to report fewest new coronavirus cases in months

Australia on track to report fewest new coronavirus cases in months
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Australia is on track to report its lowest daily increase in new coronavirus cases in three months on Sunday after a strict lockdown in Melbourne, which had been the nation’s epicenter of the virus. 

Victoria, the state where Melbourne is located, reported 14 new infections in the past 24 hours on Sunday morning, its lowest number of new cases since June 19, according to Reuters. Victoria reported 21 cases the day before. 

Victoria has been under a strict lockdown, including a nightly curfew, to mitigate the spread of the virus. Authorities have said they may lift restrictions if the daily average increase is below 50 by Sept. 28, Reuters notes. 

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An additional four new cases were reported on Sunday across Australia, two in New South Wales and two in Queensland, bringing the nation’s total to 18 — the lowest for the country since June 23, according to Reuters. The country's five other states and territories did not report daily case numbers by Sunday morning, but they had not reported increases most days for weeks, Reuters notes. 

Victorian state Premier Daniel Andrews said Sunday’s numbers are “cause for great optimism and positivity.”

“There will of course always be debates about timing and whether we’re on schedule, ahead of schedule, all of those things, (but) ultimately these numbers are cause for great optimism and positivity,” Andrews said a televised news conference, according to the news service. 

Australia has reported a total of 26,898 coronavirus cases and 849 fatalities, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.