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Victoria records SIX coronavirus deaths – its highest ever

Victoria has recorded 300 new coronavirus cases and a record six deaths.

The shocking death total is the largest of any state throughout the pandemic after New South Wales recorded five on 28 April and Victoria also recorded five on Thursday. 

All of Friday’s deaths were elderly people in aged care. The state’s death toll is now 55 and the national toll is 138. 

There 7,405 cases in the state with 206 Victorians in hospital including 41 in intensive care. 

Premier Daniel Andrews today announced ADF soldiers will door-knock residents who test positive to check they are isolating.  

‘If for whatever reason you don’t answer the phone, then ADF personnel will be knocking on your door,’ he said. 

If a person cannot be contacted after two calls within a two hour window or if they refuse to participate in a contact tracing interview, troops will visit the address on the same day. 

If there is not a good reason for absence, the person can be fined $1,652 for breaching public health laws. 

Since Wednesday, 65 properties had been visited as part of this program, and from Friday the government will have 23 teams up and running and out on the ground.

Mr Andrews’ critics said it was a scandal that this type enforcement had not been in place before now.

Liberal frontbencher Tim Smith Tweeted: ‘So the state government hasn’t been following up infected people they couldn’t reach by phone…until NOW ?!!! They were meant to contact them within 24 hours, what an absolute scandal. This is simply negligent. No wonder this virus has spiralled out of control.’ 

Premier Andrews warned more deaths would rock the state.

‘For every thousand people that are positive each day, there will be many hundreds that finish up in hospital and they will be many who die,’ he said.

But he said he has not been advised to extend or tighten Melbourne’s six-week lockdown which began on 9 July. 

It comes as some residents try to defy Melbourne’s lockdown laws and the order to wear masks when leaving home.

One Melbourne resident named Eve Black shared footage on Thursday of herself driving past an officer at a COVID-19 police barricade. 

When a police officer asked her where she was headed and why she was attempting to leave, Ms Black simply told him she didn’t need to share that information.

After an argument, the frustrated officer eventually waved her through as she sped off with a grin on her face. 

On Tuesday, two mothers minding their children in Lilydale Lakes Park in northeast Melbourne refused to go home when confronted by police.

They claimed they were exercising their human rights, but eventually left without being fined. 

New South Wales recorded just seven cases on Friday after conducting 36,000 tests, in a sign that the outbreak there is under control. 

Six of the cases were linked to the Thai Rock restaurant in Wetherill Park and the source of one is being investigated. 

Earlier on Friday, Scott Morrison met with state and territory leaders to discuss the national impact of the Victorian coronavirus outbreak.

The state recorded 403 new cases on Thursday, as it imposed mandatory mask-wearing in greater Melbourne and Mitchell Shire, and cracked down on those not properly undertaking social distancing.

Deputy Labor leader Richard Marles said the situation in his home state was scary.

‘If you’ve got family in aged care or if you’re in aged care, if you work in aged care, it is utterly terrifying,’ he told the Nine Network on Friday.

‘Now is the moment to try and work together to get through this.’

New Treasury figures show the Victorian lockdown is expected to cost the national economy $3.3 billion, presuming the measures only last six weeks.

Treasury expects to see government debt exceed $850 billion and the federal budget hit a $184.5 billion deficit by the end of this financial year.

These estimates rely on Victoria sticking to six-week lockdowns and international borders reopening in January with two-week quarantine for anyone entering.

The unemployment rate is expected to peak at 9.25 per cent before Christmas, leaving another 240,000 people out of work.

The leaders will also be briefed on the timetable for easing restrictions and local outbreak planning.

Queensland has now identified Fairfield in Sydney’s southwest as a virus hotspot and has closed its border to people from that area unless they quarantine for 14 days.

Leaders hold concerns about the situation in Victoria, where almost 90 per cent of people who caught the disease over the past two weeks did not self-isolate between feeling sick and getting tested.

And more than half didn’t stay at home while waiting for their results.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt says staying home from work and isolating when ill or showing symptoms are critical to protecting the community and stemming the virus’ spread.

The national cabinet is also expected to deal with the issues of Indigenous wellbeing and an overhaul of the way major projects receive environmental approval. 

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