CANBERRA, July 13 (Xinhua) -- The Australian Government has deployed more defence force personnel to Victoria to assist the state's response to the COVID-19 outbreaks.
Greg Hunt, the minister for health, told reporters on Monday that an additional 1,000 Australian Defence Force (ADF) members would be sent to Victoria to "serve in a variety of roles," a significant increase from the 350 previously deployed to the state.
"The Australian government is providing additional support, both on the containment front and on the capacity front, for Victoria's healthcare system," he said.
As of Monday afternoon there had been 9,980 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia.
Authorities in Victoria confirmed 177 new cases of the virus, the state's lowest tally in four days.
There were 14 new cases in New South Wales, many of which were connected to a cluster at a hotel in Casula, 34 kilometers south-west of Sydney. Queensland has recorded one new case, a recently returned traveller who is in hotel quarantine.
Hunt also announced on Monday that 5 million face masks from the national medical stockpile would be directed to healthcare providers in Victoria.
"One million of those will go to primary health care workers, they are currently being prepared for distribution through the primary health networks, and 4 million will go to the aged care system and the home care system," he said.
"These are very important distributions to allow for greater use of personal protective equipment to make sure that all of the needs are met.
"We are getting ahead of the curve, and this will be fundamental."