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Asia Today: Melbourne deaths rise at aged-care facilities

Australia has reported fewer new daily cases from its virus hotspot in the city of Melbourne than on any single day since last month. But it has also reported the nation’s highest daily death total since the virus outbreak began.

The state of Victoria reported 322 new infections and 19 new deaths on Monday, with 14 of the deaths connected to outbreaks at aged-care facilities.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was more hopeful now that cases are stabilizing in Victoria than he has been at any time over the past week.

But state premier Daniel Andrews cautioned that not too much could be read into a single day’s worth of data, and that some of the state’s most stringent lockdown measures had only come into effect at midnight Sunday.

The number of new cases was the lowest recorded in Victoria since July 29.

The figures did not include new infections and deaths from other Australian states, although Victoria has been accounting for the vast majority of both in recent weeks.

Since the outbreak began, Australia has reported more than 21,000 infections and more than 300 deaths.

In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

— China's number of local transmissions fell to just 14 but was offset by 35 new cases among Chinese travelers coming from overseas. All of the new local cases reported Monday by the National Health Commission were in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, whose main city Urumqi is the center of China’s latest outbreak. China has reported 4,634 fatalities from the disease among 84,668 cases. Hong Kong reported another 72 cases and five deaths as it continues to battle a new wave of infections with tightened rules on indoor dining and obligatory mask wearing in public settings. The semi-autonomous Chinese city has reported 52 deaths among 4,079 total cases.