The Informer: A day of devastation, apologies and 17 fatalities

Disturbingly, 994 healthcare workers are among Victoria's active cases.
Disturbingly, 994 healthcare workers are among Victoria's active cases.

Victoria is once again in the eye of the persistent storm.

While Premier Daniel Andrews and Victorian health officials would no doubt prefer to ponder on the downward trend of COVID-19 infections over the past few days, they are nevertheless faced with the grim reality of 17 deaths in the past 24 hours as they look out over the deserted streets of Melbourne.

The strain of the Victorian situation is clearly having a heavy impact on Health Minister Jenny Mikakos who admitted mistakes were made and apologised for shortcomings in the state government's response to the pandemic in emotional comments on Twitter last night.

Victoria has recorded 394 new cases.

Disturbingly, 994 healthcare workers are among the state's active cases. The fatalities include two men in their 50s.

The virus is putting massive strain on the Victorian health system and the government is investing $60 million to keep people suffering acute mental illness at home and away from emergency departments.

The state's mental health minister Martin Foley quoted some devastating figures, pointing out that one in five Victorians sought help for a mental illness prior to the pandemic, and there has been a 33% increase in emergency presentations for self-harm among young people.

In NSW, 10 people were diagnosed with COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8pm last night.

Meanwhile Premier Gladys Berejiklian seeks to put the Ruby Princess cruise ship fiasco behind her, and has rejected demands to extend an inquiry into the bungled affair.

Heavy rainfall has caused flash flooding in NSW's South Coast region with concerns some river levels could peak, further saturating some communities.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczukcould be forgiven for flashing a wry smile after Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said the federal government now supports the current border restrictions. The prime minister had previously argued against state border closures.

Queensland has recorded no new cases overnight.

On the world stage, protesters clashed with police in Beirut in the aftermath of the port blast and the Lebanese prime minister Hassan Diab has proposed holding early elections.

Anxious residents of the Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius are facing an environmental catastrophe with tonnes of fuel leaking from a grounded ship put endangered wildlife in further peril.

In the US Thousands of bikers heading to South Dakota's 10-day Sturgis Motorcycle Rally will be blocked at Cheyenne River Sioux checkpoints, a spokesman for the Native American group said yesterday.

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This story A day of devastation, apologies and 17 fatalities first appeared on Daily Liberal.