Australia's Victoria records 723 new COVID-19 cases

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 29:  ADF (Australian Defence Force) personnel assist with a COVID-19 testing at Melbourne Showgrounds on June 29, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. Victoria has recorded 75 new coronavirus cases overnight, the state's fourth-highest single day rise since the start of the pandemic, while increased testing in Melbourne suburbs that have been identified as community transmission hotspots for coronavirus continues. Restrictions in Victoria have been tightened in response to the spike in new cases across the state with premier Daniel Andrews extending the current state of emergency for at least four weeks to allow police the power to enforce social distancing rules. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty.

The Australian state of Victoria has recorded 723 new cases of COVID-19.

That's the highest daily total in a single day for Australia since the pandemic began back in January. 

Thirteen people have died in the last 24 hours - three men and three women in their 70s, three men and two women in their 80s, and two men in their 90s.

"We send our condolences, our best wishes, our thoughts and prayers to those families. This will be incredibly challenging," Premier Daniel Andrews said, according to ABC.

Andrews said 312 Victorians are in hospital, with 34 in intensive care.

He added that too many people are still leaving their homes and going to work when they have symptoms, even after they return a positive test result.

"That's a small number, though. I think a bigger number are people that are between having the test taken and getting the results, they are still presenting to work," he said.

The state has recorded more than 9000 cases, with the majority being recorded over the last month after a sudden surge. That prompted much of Melbourne to be put into lockdown, with Victoria's borders with New South Wales closed.

Andrews also announced that wearing face masks in public will become compulsory from August 2 at 11:59pm for all Victorians.

"It's inconvenient, it's challenging, but it's essentially Stage 4 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," he said, according to 9 News.