Victoria state records 'ugly' number of new cases as harsher restrictions enforced

The COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria, Australia has hit what the state's chief health officer calls "an ugly number".

Victoria recorded 288 cases on Friday, the biggest number of daily COVID-19 cases the state has had so far.

It has now had more than 1000 active cases as they stare down a second wave worst than it's first.

Experts told the public there is a significant community transmission issue and people shouldn't underestimate "how significant" the outbreak is.

Residents were also told to wear face masks outside in a last-ditch effort to stop the spread.

The new record came following a national cabinet meeting on Friday afternoon.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a range of new measures, redeploying contact tracers from healthy states.

"A lot of that capacity has sat idle, but it doesn't need to sit idle now, it can be put to work in Victoria, and is being put to work in Victoria," he said.

The number of Australians allowed home has also been halved, with only 4000 to be let in each week.

Morrison said the decision was to ensure "we can put our focus on the resources needed to do the testing and the tracing, and not have to have resources diverted to other tasks".

And people returning to the country from international travel will be forced to pay for their mandatory COVID-19 quarantine by all states.

There will also be a nationwide review of Australia's quarantine process after they had several hotel escapes too.