At least 744 new COVID-19 infections were recorded in Australia on Thursday, with most of them in the Victoria state.

Besides 723 new infections, a daily record, Victoria also reported 13 additional deaths due to the novel coronavirus, daily Sydney Morning Herald reported.

According to Australian Health Ministry, Victoria has reported “increasing number of people” who acquired COVID-19 locally, registering 295 cases on Wednesday.

“This increase is linked with multiple outbreaks across a range of settings in metropolitan Melbourne,” the ministry said in a statement.

Nearly 10,000 coronavirus cases of Australia’s total 16,303 infections have been reported in Victoria since late January.

Some 189 people died due to the infection. Of the total fatalities, over 100 were recorded in Victoria.

Local authorities in Victoria have made it mandatory to wear face masks from coming Sunday night.

Since first appearing in China last December, the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 188 countries and regions. The US, Brazil, India, and Russia are currently the countries hardest hit in the world.

The pandemic has killed more than 667,000 people worldwide, with nearly 17 million confirmed cases, according to figures compiled by US-based Johns Hopkins University. Over 9.95 million people have recovered from the disease.

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