News State Victoria Victoria records 216 new coronavirus cases
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Victoria records 216 new coronavirus cases

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A man in his 90s has died with COVID-19 in a Victorian hospital, with the state recording another 216 cases of coronavirus.

Premier Daniel Andrews said on Saturday that Victoria has now recorded 3560 cases in total.

There has been a net increase of 181 new cases after 35 were reclassified.

There are now 1249 active cases in the state.

Premier Daniel Andrews offered his condolences to the family of the man who passed away.

Mr Andrews and Health Minister Jenny Mikakos thanked everyone who had come forward for testing.

“Without this data and sense of how the virus is moving, you can’t get to their close contacts or put in place a strategy to get them isolated at home,” Mr Andrews said.

Thirty of the new cases are linked to known outbreaks, while 186 are under investigation.

There are 49 Victorians in hospital and 15 of those are in intensive care.

About five million Victorians in metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire are under strict stay-at-home orders after weeks of worrying transmission of the deadly virus.

The latest death takes the state’s toll from COVID-19 to 23 and the national tally to 107.

The latest figures come after Victoria recorded 288 new cases on Friday prompting the state government to recommend people where masks in areas where social distancing was not possible.

Masks are now an official feature of Australia’s coronavirus campaign, and may become a greater feature post-lockdown, Mr Andrews noted.

TGA gives nod to Remdesivir

There was some positive news as the Therapeutic Goods Administration gave provisional approval in Australia to a drug – Remdesivir – that can improve the recovery time of the most seriously ill COVID-19 patients.

The intravenous drug by US company Gilead Sciences is the most promising treatment so far to reduce hospitalisation time for those suffering from severe coronavirus infections, the TGA said in a statement.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth said the TGA approval is significant although warned none of these medications have yet to prove to be a “silver bullet”.

“None of the international trials that have been conducted in Remdesivir have shown marked results, but they have shown some results that indicate it might be effective in patients with moderate to severe coronavirus disease,” Dr Coatsworth told reporters in Canberra

On the timing of a vaccine he remained cautious.

“I think we need to prepare ourselves for a world where a vaccine is not available for potentially 18 to 24 months,” he said.

“(But) there is so much effort going into this, we should be hopeful that we can get a vaccine for COVID-19.”

-with AAP