Victoria records 65 new Covid cases a day after 4,000 protesters stormed the streets amid harsher restrictions – as medical expert claims the state ‘is heading in the wrong direction’
- Victoria recorded 65 locally-acquired cases of coronavirus on Sunday
- Comes the day after 4000 protestors attended anti-lockdown rally in Melbourne
- Medical expert holds concerns the state is ‘heading in the wrong direction’
Victoria has recorded 65 new cases of coronavirus after an anti-lockdown rally was attended by 4000 protestors and regional areas were forced back into lockdown.
The new cases come from 44,147 tests with the state administering 26,149 vaccine doses in the past 24 hours to midnight.
The 65 locally-acquired cases include the 16 local cases found using a rapid PCR testing platform in the Shepparton area.
The worrying surge in cases comes after 4000 protestors attended an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne, with copycat events seen in Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns.
The largest of the three ‘freedom’ rallies in Melbourne started on the corner of Elizabeth and Bourke street in the CBD on Saturday morning and escalated during the afternoon despite Premier Dan Andrews saying the state is on the verge of a Covid catastrophe.
The Melbourne protests continued for several hours and at times the emboldened protesters appeared to outnumber police, breaking through police barricades.
By late afternoon seven officers had been injured with six hospitalised – including two with suspected broken noses, one with a broken thumb and the others with concussions – and 218 protesters arrested.
Police issued 236 fines of at least $5,452 for breaching the CHO directions, and have three people in custody for assaulting police.
‘While there were some peaceful protestors in attendance, the majority of those who attended came with violence in mind,’ Victoria Police said in response to claims pepper ball rounds and OC foam canisters were fired at demonstrators.
‘The behaviour seen by police was so hostile and aggressive that they were left with no choice but to use all tactics available to them.’
Victorian health authorities are now fearing the state is on course to enter the same endless cycle of lockdowns currently being experienced in NSW.
Premier Daniel Andrews warned on Friday that if Victorians ignored strict stay-at-home orders this weekend ‘well then next week it will be like Sydney’.
AMA vice president Stephen Parnis said he held grave concerns over delayed testing and a growth of mystery cases and exposure sites lists, warning ‘the trajectory is heading the wrong way’ for Victoria, news.com.au reported.
‘We know from past experience that when the numbers increase, that translates through to more sick people, more hospital presentations,’ Dr Panis told ABC News.
‘And already in Melbourne we’ve seen an impact with hundreds of exposure sites, lots of people – over 10,000 to 15,000 in isolation, and that includes a significant amount of health workers. It’s putting pressure on health services.
‘And then, of course, we saw these protests yesterday, which are demoralising because people are doing the exact opposite of what they purport to do, which is improve people’s freedoms. They actually make it worse for everyone.’
On Friday Covid-19 Response Commander Jereon Weimar said health authorities were beginning to notice a worrying surge in the number of hospitalisations.
As it stands, there are currently 18 Victorians in hospital, eight in intensive care and two on ventilators.
‘We note these numbers are starting to rise,’ Mr Weimar said.
The state recorded 77 new cases on Saturday before the protests even began, with the premier announcing the capital city’s lockdown would be broadened to include the entire state.
Regional Victoria’s restrictions are the same as for those in Melbourne minus the curfew that requires those in the capital to not leave their home between 9pm and 5am.
Construction has also been limited to 25 per cent capacity statewide to be inline with Melbourne.
For those in Melbourne there are significant changes around childcare, which has been flagged as an area where transmission has been occurring.
‘We will move to a permit system, where only authorised workers will be able to send their kids to childcare and those who have vulnerable children,’ Mr Andrews said at Saturday’s state update.
More to come.