SYDNEY: Australia reported its lowest one-day rise in new coronavirus infections in almost two months on Monday (Aug 24), fuelling optimism that a deadly second wave is subsiding.
Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland and Western Australia states reported a combined 121 new cases over the past 24 hours, the lowest single-day rise since Jul 5.
Victoria, the country's second-most populous state, accounted for the vast majority of the cases with its capital city of Melbourne the epicentre of the latest outbreak.
The state had 116 new cases on Monday and 15 deaths in the last 24 hours. This compares to earlier this month when it reported a record 700 cases in a single day.
"It's a light at the end of the tunnel," Australia's Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth told reporters in Canberra. "It's a substantial reassurance that the overall trend is down."
Australia has recorded nearly 25,000 COVID-19 infections, including 517 deaths.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Sunday said the state will "defeat this second wave".
"And then we'll be able to begin the process of opening up. Exactly when that is, we can't give people a definitive date. But ... my aim is to round out the year with something - a COVID normal."
As the spread of the disease slows, state and federal governments have been discussing easing the cap on returning Australians of 4,000 per week to help repatriate those stranded overseas, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on Sunday.