Coronavirus infections stabilise in Australia's virus epicentre

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Outside the two largest states of Victoria and New South Wales, the virus has been effectively eliminated, though the authorities still worry that the spike in Victoria has already spread to other states despite border closures.

The lockdowns, which will remain in place until September 13, include a nightly curfew between the hours of 8 p.m. -5 a.m. and the mandatory use of face masks in public places.

Deputy chief medical officer Professor Michael Kidd has also noted the fall in case numbers but with an added warning to Australians to prepare for a grim future.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is set to appear at a senate hearing on the government's coronavirus response.

Cases will likely increase to four million within a month, and the true rate of infection is likely six or seven times the number of positive tests, according to Domingos Alves, the coordinator of the Health Intelligence Department at the University of Sao Paulo. He said the "endpoint is to lower numbers" so that we "can have confidence that we can manage" other outbreaks as well as "the inevitable transmission that we will see". And sadly some of those people will die.

"Some people are sadly dying very early in the course of Covid-19 but for many people, it is a week or more after they have been infected that we see people who are gravely unwell".

"There have been some suggestions, I've read it. that somehow our elderly should in some way have been offered up in relation to this virus", Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

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"That is just a ugly thought", he said. "One that I've had no countenance with when it's been suggested".

While the addition of new cases was the smallest in 11 days, the death toll was the greatest in a single day since the pandemic began and brought the total number of deaths to 210.

The premier laid out the "end game" for the current lockdown restrictions in Melbourne.

National Covid-19 commission chairman Nev Power is also due to give evidence.

About a third of those cases were linked to an outbreak at a school in Sydney, the source of which remained unknown, NSW health officials said.

Queensland had one new infection, a man who returned from overseas in hotel quarantine.

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