Victoria has reportedly recorded its second biggest spike in new COVID-19 cases with 375 new infections as Melbourne is overwhelmed by a second wave of the deadly respiratory illness.
The total, reported by ABC Melbourne citing government sources, is far higher than Monday’s figure of 275 and second only to the 428 cases confirmed on July 17.
The official figures for the past 24 hours will be confirmed at a press conference held by Premier Daniel Andrews later on Tuesday morning.
Pedestrians wearing face masks walk through the city on Monday. Victoria has recorded its second biggest spike in new COVID-19 cases, government sources have reported
Data released on Monday showed the number of active cases in Melbourne fell in most local government areas – but Brimbank and Wyndham saw numbers continue to rise.
Brimbank, west of the CBD, on Monday recorded 19 new cases to hit a total of 271, while Wyndham, south-west of the city, suffered 10 more cases to reach 350.
Cases in Yarra increased by six to reach 111 and Greater Geelong recorded two extra cases to hit 13.
Tuesday’s reported spike in cases comes just a day before masks become compulsory in Victoria, with $200 fines for failing to wear them from 11.59pm on Wednesday night.
New South Wales residents are also bracing for a spike in cases after the state recorded 20 infections on Monday, its highest total since 21 on April 29, as the government considers stricter rules to contain the spread.
Sources have told the Sydney Morning Herald that sector-targeted lockdowns, such as the closure of pubs and restaurants, are more likely than total lockdown if infections continue to climb.
‘Lockdowns of sectors could happen, predominantly pubs and restaurants,’ one minister said.
Another minister said there was ‘no appetite for a full lockdown’ but a feeling that some restrictions needed to be altered.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is pictured entering Monday’s press conference wearing a face mask. He will confirm the official figures for the past 24 hours at a press conference on Tuesday morning
‘I think there is a feeling that some things may have gone too far, too quickly and we will need to tighten some areas again,’ the minister said.
A pedestrian wearing a face mask walks past a sign advertising masks in Melbourne on Monday
Masks are compulsory in Victoria, with $200 fines for failing to wear them from Thursday
Brimbank, west of the CBD, on Monday recorded 19 new cases to hit a total of 271, while Wyndham, south-west of the city, suffered 10 more cases to reach 350
Victoria reported 275 infections and the death of an aged care resident in her 80s on Monday
‘I think given the cautious nature of Gladys, she was probably pushed further into opening things up by [Deputy Premier John] Barilaro and [Treasurer Dominic] Perrottet than she felt comfortable with.’
The New South Wales Labor Party has called for all residents to wear masks on public transport.
Masks are compulsory in Victoria, with $200 fines for failing to wear them from Thursday.
Three of the 20 cases reported in NSW on Monday are linked to the Crossroads Hotel in Casula, bringing the total number of cases linked to the cluster to 48.
A couple wearing face masks in Melbourne this week. The protective item will be mandatory in the state from 11.59pm on Wednesday
Pictured: Medical staff at a pop-up COVID-19 site in Casula, Sydney’s south-west
Eight new cases are linked to the Thai Rock restaurant in Wetherill Park, four are linked to the Batemans Bay Soldiers Club, four are returned travellers in hotel quarantine and one is a person who has returned from Victoria.
Ms Berejiklian said she was concerned NSW was at a ‘critical point’ in the pandemic.
She said the state has the chance to get ahead of the virus and control the spread if residents limit their activities and practise social distancing over the next few weeks.’If you cannot guarantee social distancing where you’re going… you must wear a mask,’ she told reporters in Sydney.
An inquiry into Victoria’s botched hotel quarantine system meanwhile opened on Monday with the revelation every single new case of coronavirus within the state in recent weeks could be linked to the under-fire program.
The possibility that the state’s second deadly outbreak of COVID-19 could be the result of mistakes made while housing returned travellers will be investigated in a formal inquiry. Pictured: A staff member inside a quarantine hotel
The state government launched the investigation, headed by retired judge Jennifer Coate, after new COVID-19 cases in late May and early June were linked to infection control breaches by security guards at quarantine hotels.
Senior assisting counsel Tony Neal QC on Monday suggested the failures of the mandatory isolation could be far more widespread than initially anticipated.
‘Comments made by the chief health officer to the media have suggested that it may even be that every case of COVID-19 in Victoria in recent weeks could be sourced to the hotel quarantine program,’ he said.
More to come