Residents in a hotspot of Melbourne’s surge in of COVID-19 cases say they will disregard social distancing guidelines despite a massive testing blitz in the Victorian capital.
About 10,000 residents each day will be tested in the 10 locations around Melbourne identified as hotspots by a fleet of 800 crew in mobile testing vans.
Broadmeadows locals, however, are divided about whether they should heed government health warnings.
Some have expressed concern and urged fellow residents to maintain hygiene and social distancing precautions while others have described coronavirus as ‘rubbish’.
One man (pictured) said he has been out and about over the city and was still hugging and kissing people because he has not met a single person who has COVID-19
A child receives a COVID19 test in Broadmeadows. Victoria State Government Health and Human Services knocked on doors to check if people had any coronavirus symptoms
A coronavirus drive-through testing facility is seen as the state of Victoria experiences an outbreak of cases, in Melbourne, Australia, June 25, 2020
Speaking to Seven News one man said he has been out and about over the city and was still hugging and kissing people because he has not met a single person who has COVID-19.
According to research about 30 per cent of coronavirus carriers experience no symptoms and are unaware they have they virus but they are still contagious to others.
‘It’s not deadly, it’s like any other virus … why does it matter? A person who’s 99 years old is dying,’ the man said.
‘I’m not going to stop my whole life for coronavirus, I’ve got to work, I’ve got a business to run … just like everyone else in Broadmeadows.’
One woman said she was concerned but she was in the minority and had seen many people in the suburb ignoring health guidelines.
‘People think they don’t get sick, but this is not a game anymore. They are hugging, they’re kissing, they’re too close to each other,’ she said.
Other locals spoken to by the network said they agreed that ‘no-one listens to the rules’ and people were hugging and touching each other constantly.
One main said he thought the suburbs in the list of the city’s 10 hotspots were being unfairly targeted.
Another woman said she thought the cap on gatherings should have been left at 5 rather than increased and then decreased again.
The Melbourne suburbs identified as COVID-19 hotspots in a second wave of the virus
Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Annaliese van Diemen said on Friday that the community needs to remain vigilant to keep the virus at bay.
She strongly disagrees with comments that everybody was going to get the virus eventually and said that people must maintain 1.5 metres distance and avoid touching each other.
The testing blitz being conducted in Melbourne was progressing well, she also noted, with a large number of tests completed on Thursday which will ramp up over the next few days.
She attributes the current wave of infections across Melbourne to the ‘last few infections’ from the first wave which had a chance to take off when restrictions were relaxed.
Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Annaliese van Diemen said on Friday that the community needs to remain vigilant to keep the virus at bay
A person wearing a face mask is seen in Melbourne, Thursday, June 25, 2020. The ADF has been called in to help Victoria tackle its rising number of COVID-19 cases
Victoria’s active cases jumped from 58 to 143 in the period June 17-24, while the rest of the country combined only had an increase of 20.
Victoria has currently been processing 18,000 tests a day, but now 25,000 tests a day will be processed with the help of the other states.
‘Whilst we’re going to have this targeted blitz in those worst-affected suburbs, our overall statewide surveillance, the tests that we will do in non-hot-spot communities, will remain very, very strong,’ Premier Daniel Andrews said.
A handful of ADF staff have been helping out at Victoria’s state control centre for several months, but the contingent will now drastically ramp up.
‘Defence has been providing support to Victoria since April and I’m pleased we’re able to rapidly increase our assistance to help Victoria respond to its current COVID-19 circumstances,’ Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said in a statement.
Paramedics perform COVID19 tests in Broadmeadows after Victoria State Government Health and Human Services people knock on doors to check if people have any symptoms of and would like a test, in Melbourne
People leave Flinders Street Station while while wearing face masks as a preventive measure against the spread of novel coronavirus COVID-19 in Melbourne, Sunday, June 21, 2020