Victoria is considering bringing back strict lockdown measures following a coronavirus outbreak in outer-suburban Melbourne and 20 fresh cases of infection overnight.
A man in his 80s became the 20th person to die from COVID-19 in Victoria, as the state continues to battle the second spike in coronavirus cases.
Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said they ‘won’t rule out’ reintroducing stay at home orders for coronavirus hotspots.
‘Our government has said that if the public health advice from our experts is to reintroduce stay at home legal directions, in particular locations we will consider doing that,’ Ms Mikakos told ABC Radio National Breakfast.
‘Clearly some people think the pandemic is over. It’s not over. We want people to remain at a heightened sense of awareness about physical distancing.’
Pictured: Medical workers at a drive-through COVID-19 testing site in a shopping centre carpark in Melbourne on Tuesday
Australians have been warned to stay away from six council in Melbourne: Hume, Casey and Brimbank, Moreland, Cardinia and Darebin
The six hotspots have been identified as the local government areas of Hume, Casey, Brimbank, Moreland, Cardinia and Darebin.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said seven new COVID-19 cases are linked to known outbreaks, one was detected in hotel quarantine, nine were discovered through routine testing and three other cases are under investigation.
Mr Sutton said 241 cases in the state have been transmitted through the community.
‘That’s an increase of eight since yesterday. That number has been around 10 every day, but a decrease of eight is somewhat encouraging,’ he said.
‘It certainly means we’re not getting an increase or an exponential increase in community transmission cases day-by-day.
‘But there are 141 active cases in Victoria, over 1,000 close contacts.’
It is the eighth day of double-digit growth in new cases, bringing the state’s tally to 1,884.
An elderly man in Victoria died on Tuesday night, taking the the state’s toll to 20
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 7,512
New South Wales: 3,150
Western Australia: 607
South Australia: 440
Australian Capital Territory: 108
Northern Territory: 29
TOTAL CASES: 7,512
Mr Sutton said the elderly man died on Tuesday evening but he was unable to give further details in respect of the family’s request for privacy.
The death is the first in Australia in a month, taking the national toll to 103.
Three caravan parks on the Great Ocean Road announced they will cancel bookings from travellers who reside in COVID-19 hotspots ahead of the school holidays.
A statement shared to websites for the Lorne Foreshore, Torquay Foreshore and Anglesea Family caravan parks said the cancellations would apply to all bookings up until Monday July 13.
‘To protect the health and safety of our staff, visitors and coastal communities, we will not be taking upcoming bookings, and will be cancelling all current bookings, from guests that live in the identified hotspot council areas of Hume, Casey, Brimbank, Moreland, Cardinia and Darebin,’ the statement reads.
‘We will not be lifting these restrictions until the Victorian Government advises that community transmission in these areas is under control.
‘We regret that we have had to make this decision, but we must do everything we can to protect our staff, visitors and small coastal communities at this time.’
People at Brimbank stop for a coffee on tables littered with red and white tape placed there to keep them away
Pictured: A long queue of cars wait at a drive-through COVID-19 testing site in Melbourne on Tuesday
A woman gets tested for COVID-19 in a shopping centre carpark in Melbourne on Wednesday
Health officials will begin doorknocking hotspots across Melbourne to ensure residents are sticking to government guidelines.
Mr Sutton said Victoria was able to test 20,000 people a day for coronavirus as officials move to crack down on several clusters of outbreaks and trace and quarantine contacts of infected people.
The Melbourne Showgrounds will open for testing at 1pm on Wednesday to Keilor Downs Secondary College students, teachers and parents only.
From Thursday, the showgrounds will be available to the rest of the public, Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said on Twitter on Tuesday night.
Keilor Downs Secondary College was closed on Monday for deep cleaning after a contact linked to a family outbreak in the suburb went to school for two days while infectious.
Medical workers on Tuesday staffed a drive-through COVID-19 testing site located in a shopping centre carpark in Melbourne
Pictured: Cleaning crews work to deep clean Keilor Views Primary School in Melbourne on Tuesday
Premier Daniel Andrews apologised for the delays at drive-through testing sites at shopping centres, where some people have waited up to four hours to be tested while others have been turned away.
Testing sites at Chadstone, Highpoint, Northland, Pacific Epping and Pacific Werribee shopping centres have extended operating hours to meet demand.
Meanwhile, the premier said an ‘army’ of officials would begin doorknocking homes in designated hotspots Brimbank, Cardinia, Casey, Darebin, Hume and Moreland to ensure residents are adhering to government guidelines.
Information about the virus will also be provided in languages other than English following concerns COVID-19 messaging hasn’t been reaching multicultural communities in those areas.
‘There has been very deep engagement with localised communities, multicultural communities, multi-faith communities,’ Mr Andrews said.
Shoppers at Broadmeadows stock up on supplies amid fears they could soon be placed in lockdown
Shelves at Coles in Taylor’s Hill in Melbourne are stripped of product on Tuesday as panic buying takes hold after new outbreak of COVID-19
VICTORIA’S SPIKE IN CORONAVIRUS CASES
Source: Department of Health and Human Services
On Tuesday, tensions were on the rise in COVID-19 hotspots from Melbourne’s west to east.
Residents could soon face mandatory lockdown in six local government districts, Victorian health minister Jenny Mikakos warned.
At Brimbank Shopping Centre in the city’s north-west some worried shoppers were already stocking up on toilet paper, which had been stripped from supermarket shelves during panic-buying frenzies just months earlier.
One Brimbank resident told Daily Mail Australia he had heard about people stockpiling again on morning radio and had come down to the shops to grab some rolls before they vanished.
Reports spread quickly that a local shopping centre within the same municipality had already run out of the product.
‘I’m not getting caught out again,’ the man said.
Pictured: A woman in a face mask lands at Sydney Airport from Melbourne on Wednesday
The NSW government does not want to close the border with Victoria because of a COVID-19 outbreak in Melbourne as it would hurt towns like Albury-Wodonga.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says the impact on Victorian border towns would deter any attempt to restrict movement between the two states.
NSW on Tuesday reported just one COVID-19 case in hotel quarantine.
Ms Berejiklian has repeatedly criticised interstate travel restrictions and says she will not agree to border closures with any of NSW’s neighbour states.
But she again urged against travel to Melbourne, particularly its six current COVID-19 hotspots.
A man in a face mask arrives at Sydney Airport after flying in from Melbourne on Wednesday
A traveller who flew into Sydney from Melbourne on Wednesday does not appear concerned by the COVID-19 outbreak as he walks through the terminal without a face mask
Residents of those hotspots should not be moving around the community, the premier said, and NSW businesses should deny service to anyone from outer-suburban Melbourne.
She also urged NSW residents to avoid visiting Melbourne.
But Ms Berejiklian said she was confident her Victorian counterparts would get the outbreak under control before drastic measures are required.
‘For a community like Albury-Wodonga, they don’t see themselves as two separate towns, they see themselves as one community,’ Ms Berejiklian told ABC TV on Wednesday.
‘A hard border closure would be detrimental to a part of the country that doesn’t have cases. We’re not in the business of having hard border closures.’
Some 3,150 COVID-19 cases have been reported in NSW to date, with none in intensive care.
Pictured: A coronavirus testing site at a shopping centre in Melbourne on Tuesday