A man in his 30s is among the 15 new deaths from COVID-19 in Victoria today, representing the deadliest day in the pandemic to date.
725 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 were also reported today as the state's businesses brace for the enforcement of Stage 4 restrictions from 11:59pm tonight.
In addition, Premier Daniel Andrews announced today that all elective surgery will be put on hold in regional Victoria except for Category 1 patients and the most urgent Category 2 patients.
"We can't have a situation where we are making the sickest patients wait longer because we are treating wholly worthy and important conditions but not necessarily time-critical conditions," says Andrews.
"We can't put those ahead of people who need that urgent care. The sickest patients must get treated quickest, and that is always a principle that our public and indeed our private hospitals work under."
Read more: Sweeping changes for Victorian retail and construction, more cash grants on offer
The state's death toll since the beginning of the pandemic now stands at 162.
Of today's 15 new deaths, 12 can be linked to aged care. Further details about the man in his 30s could not be given by Andrews but the Premier did confirm that he was not a healthcare worker.
There are currently 538 COVID-19 patients in hospital and 42 in intensive care.
Just six days ago the state reported its deadliest day with 13 deaths. This week there have been 11 deaths yesterday and 13 deaths on 3 August.
In a recent press conference, WHO Health Emergency Response executive director Dr Michael Ryan noted the global infection fatality rate (IFR) for COVID-19 was 0.6 per cent, meaning around one in 200 people who get the virus die with the probability much higher for the elderly.
This compares to a a rate of between one in 10,000-100,000 for the 2009 swine flu epidemic.
"0.6 per cent is quite high, and so we need to do everything that we can not only to save lives among the cases that we know about but to prevent as many infections as possible," Dr Ryan said.
The number of COVID-19 cases globally is now above 18.7 million and there have been more than 704,000 recorded deaths associated with the virus.
The USA continues to have the highest number of cases at close to five million, and accounts for more than one in three of the world's approximately six million active cases.
Yesterday the total number of cases in Latin America surpassed five million, representing more than one in four globally despite accounting for around 8.5 per cent of the population.
Brazil has the second-highest amount of active cases at more than 741,213, followed by India (585,133), Russia (185,601), South Africa (148,683), Colombia (143,406), Peru (117,426) and Argentina (115,427).
Updated at 12:46pm AEST on 5 August 2020.
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