CANBERRA, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- Australia confirmed 12 new coronavirus deaths on Saturday, taking the national death toll to 278.
All 12 deaths confirmed on Saturday were in Victoria, the state hardest hit by the pandemic as it continues to battle a second wave of infections.
The deaths were one male in his 30s, two males in their 70s, two males and three females in their 80s and four females in their 90s. Six were linked to the aged care system.
Nick Coatsworth, the Australian Government Deputy Chief Medical Officer, said in an update on Saturday afternoon that there had been 20,698 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, and the number of new cases in last 24 hours is 475.
According to the Department of Health figures, the majority of all cases are reported in those aged 20 to 79 years. And the number of cases is highest in the 20-29 years age group.
Of the 475 new cases in Australia, 466 were in Victoria.
"Within Victoria, 24 of the new cases are linked to outbreaks or complex cases and 442 are under investigation," said a statement from the Department of Health and Human Services in Victoria on Saturday.
The department also said that to date there are 998 active COVID-19 cases among healthcare workers in Victoria.
Coatsworth said in the update that the numbers of healthcare workers and residential aged care workers in Victoria who have acquired COVID-19 are of "significant concern to all of us".
"We know that it is taking its toll on our colleagues down in Victoria at the moment," he said.
"So what I would strongly encourage all Victorians to do, if that is not reason enough to support the stage for restrictions, do everything you possibly can to bring these numbers down. "