By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ANKARA (AA) - Australia reported 337 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, most of them in the southeast Victoria state, along with 19 deaths.
According to Australia's Department of Health and Human Services, there were 322 new cases of COVID-19 detected in Victoria in the last 24 hours.
"Sadly, there were 19 deaths reported," the department said.
Australia has confirmed 21,397 infections since the beginning of the outbreak with Victoria province the worst-hit. At least 314 people have died due to COVID-19 in the country.
The country has conducted over 4.8 million tests to detect the illness, while over 11,000 patients have recovered.
A resident of Melbourne, Esra Sezgin, told Anadolu Agency that the state was under strict stage-four lockdown measures.
"[Stage four] means we're unable to leave the house unless absolutely necessary," said Sezgin, whose brother has tested positive for the coronavirus. "A curfew has been placed from 8.00 p.m. to 5.00 a.m. [1000-1900GMT] and this means we must be at home during these hours unless working, providing medical care and caregiving."
Local authorities in Victoria are administering COVID-19 tests across the state. "Melburnians are feeling restless," Sezgin said.
After imposing a lockdown in Victoria, Australia's Health Minister Jenny Mikakos early this month had said if the country does not "curb community transmission we'll keep seeing high COVID-19 infections and many more hospitalizations and deaths for months."
"That is just unacceptable. That's why we've declared a state of disaster and put in place a curfew," she said.
Since it originated in China last December, the coronavirus pandemic has claimed over 731,000 lives in 188 countries and regions.
More than 19.8 million COVID-19 cases have been reported around the world so far, with over 12.1 million recoveries, according to figures compiled by the US' Johns Hopkins University.
The US, Brazil, Russia, and India are currently the worst-hit countries in the world.