By Vatican News
Australia recorded 13 more deaths and more than 700 new cases of Covid-19 on Thursday.
The vast majority of cases are in the state of Victoria with its capital Melbourne, the second largest city in the country.
Melbourne has been locked down for several weeks, and other Australian states have restricted travel to and from Victoria.
The recent spike in cases has led the government to impose tighter restrictions, with Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews announcing that everyone in the state would be required to wear facemasks outdoors.
Disappointing lockdown results
Strict social distancing restrictions in Melbourne have been extended to neighbouring communities. Cafes, pubs, and restaurants can remain open, with restrictions. However, residents of Melbourne and nearby communities are not allowed to have visitors in their homes.
"We've now been in this lockdown (in Melbourne) for some weeks and we are not getting the results we would hope for, and as a result the further measures that are taken are certainly necessary," Australian PM Scott Morrison told reporters, backing the restrictions announced by the Victorian government.
Hot spots across Victoria
There have been more than 16,000 cases of Covid-19 in Australia, mostly in Victoria.
Most infections are linked to known “hot spots,” including aged-care homes. The elderly and those with pre-existing health issues are particularly vulnerable to the disease.
Apart from Victoria, community transmission of the novel coronavirus has been virtually eliminated.