Victoria’s average daily coronavirus cases will rise to 1,100 by the end of next week, according to a grim confidential Government forecast.
The Andrews Government’s secret modelling estimates cases will hover above 1,000 for eight consecutive days and won’t fall below current levels until the end of August.
High case numbers will persist well into September and October, topping 300 a day at the time the state’s stage four lockdown is due to end in September, according to documents leaked to The Australian.
They predict Victoria’s average new daily case numbers won’t return to pre-second-wave levels until October at the earliest.
The state suffered its worst day of the COVID-19 outbreak on Wednesday, with 725 new cases and 15 fatalities, including Australia’s youngest victim – a man in his 30s.
There are now 7,227 active cases in Victoria, 2280 of which have no known source.
Secret Victorian government modelling predicts coronavirus cases will peak in mid to late August, with average daily new cases hitting 1,100 per day
Health authorities are betting on the six-week lockdown and city-wide 8pm curfew causing cases to ‘decline quite rapidly’
The dire modelling estimates average new cases will reach 693 by this Saturday, and then increase to more than 700 by Sunday.
It’s also predicted cases will rapidly surge at the start of next week before hitting 800 new cases per day on Thursday and 900 by Friday, and then 990 on August 15.
The state will record an average of 1,000 new cases each day for eight days, peaking at 1,100 from August 17 to August 22, according to the secret government forecast.
Health authorities have been betting on the six-week lockdown and city-wide 8pm curfew causing cases to ‘decline quite rapidly’.
‘What we’re seeing happening in Victoria is based on the world’s best evidence about responding to pandemics, about bringing outbreaks like this under control,’ Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd said.
Leaked government documents predict cases will surge at the start of next week before hitting 800 new cases per day on Thursday and 900 by Friday, and then 990 on August 15. Pictured: Commuters on a train in Melbourne
Epidemiologist Professor Tony Blakely of Melbourne University said it will take two to three weeks for authorities to gauge the impact of the current stage four lockdown. Pictured: ADF and police in Melbourne
The dire modelling estimates average new cases would reach 693 by this Saturday, and will then increase to more than 700 by Sunday. Pictured: Police officers and soldiers patrol Treasury Gardens in Melbourne
The state suffered its worst day of the COVID-19 outbreak on Wednesday, with 725 new cases and 15 fatalities
‘And what works is keeping people in their homes, keeping people away from other people, and preventing the transmission from one community member to another.
‘What we hope to see over the next two weeks is the figures that we’re currently seeing start to decline and hopefully decline quite rapidly.’
Public health officials will know in three to four weeks if Melbourne’s draconian stage-four lockdown is working – and whether Victoria must stay isolated from the rest of Australia.
Epidemiologist Professor Tony Blakely of Melbourne University told news.com.au that it will take two to three weeks for authorities to gauge the impact of the current lockdown.
‘The models should be able to show whether Victoria is on track to eliminate the virus in two to three months, which is critical information for policy makers,’ he said.
‘We don’t have that information yet … so we can’t do it accurately yet; we have to see how the case numbers change.’
The Andrews Government’s secret modelling estimates the average number of new daily cases won’t start falling until the end of August
From Thursday, all essential workers in Melbourne will be required to show a permit if pulled over by police to prove they are allowed to leave their homes
Australia’s youngest coronavirus victim dies
Australia’s youngest coronavirus victim, a man in his 30s, has died in Victoria as the state suffered its worst day, with 725 new cases and 15 fatalities.
Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed the man was not a healthcare worker, though it has been reported a young trainee doctor is among those fighting for life in intensive care.
‘It shouldn’t have to get to a tragedy for people to acknowledge that this is a virus that affects everyone,’ Mr Andrews told reporters on Wednesday.
‘It can be deadly and it has been deadly here and around the world in people of all age groups and, indeed, people that are in otherwise good health.’
Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed the man was not a healthcare worker, though it has been reported a young trainee doctor is among those fighting for life in intensive care
Wednesday’s figures bring the state’s death toll from the virus to 162 and the national figure to 247.
Of the 15 deaths, 12 are linked to outbreaks at aged care facilities.
The state’s previous record was 723 new cases on July 30, though daily case numbers have been in triple digits for a month.
There are 538 Victorians with coronavirus in hospital – an increase of 82 from Tuesday – with 42 of them in ICU.
The latest figures provided by the state government show there are six people under the age of 40 fighting for their lives in ICU, including a child under nine.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison last month said Australia is aiming to eradicate community transmission, but said the plan is to suppress cases rather than eliminating them.
New South Wales Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the situation in Victoria isn’t showing ‘any marked signs’ of improvement.
‘That is certainly influencing us as a government and the government’s decision-making,’ Mr Hazzard said.
‘The results in Victoria have been extremely disturbing to me as health minister.’
All states and territories except New South Wales and Victoria had eliminated community transmission before Melbourne’s recent second wave.
NSW’s daily new cases have hovered below 20, while most of the handful of new cases in South Australia have come from returned travellers in quarantine.
From Thursday, all essential workers in Melbourne will be required to show a permit if pulled over by police to prove they are allowed to leave their homes.
Some workers, such as nurses and police officers, can use their official identification while others have to apply for the permit online.
Businesses caught issuing permits to workers who do not meet the requirements face fines of up to $99,123, while individuals can be fined up to $19,826.
Only essential workers will be allowed to send their children to child care, kindergarten or primary school and are required to complete a separate permit online.
‘If you are a permitted worker, regardless of whether you are working in person or you are working from home, and you attest that there is no-one else in your household that can look after your children then you will be able, with that very simple permit, to access child care,’ Mr Andrews said.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is accused of running a ‘police state like apartheid South Africa’
Daniel Andrews has been accused of turning Victoria into a ‘police state’ after he announced that residents will need permits to take their kids to childcare and go to work in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Liberal MPs have described the new rules as ‘terrifying’ and compared them to the harsh restrictions of apartheid South Africa and totalitarian regimes such as Nazi Germany.
From 11.59pm on Wednesday, only workers in certain industries will be allowed to send their children to daycare and must apply for an Access to Childcare Permit to do so.
To get the permit, the parent must declare there is no-one in their household who can supervise their child and their boss must state they are employed in a permitted industry.
Also from Wednesday night, all workers that have to do their jobs outside of home will need permits to be allowed to travel to work.
Daniel Andrews has been accused of turning Victoria into a ‘police state’ after he announced that residents will need permits to take their kids to childcare and go to work in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus
The employer must declare the worker is needed on site and outline what tasks they will perform.
Huge fines of up to $19,826 for individuals and $99,132 for businesses will apply to anyone caught breaking the rules.
Liberal MP for Brighton James Newbury said the new rules – combined with the 8pm until 5am curfew – meant Victoria has become a ‘police state’.
‘The Premier has imposed curfews and locked people into their homes,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Victorians now need permits to travel to work and, in a terrifying development, Daniel Andrews has introduced a permit system for our young children.
‘These decisions are disturbing and leave Victorians in no doubt that they are living in a police state.’
Huge fines of up to $19,826 for individuals and $99,132 for businesses will apply to anyone caught breaking the rules
He said most people were doing the right thing and the permit system was not necessary.
Liberal upper house member Edward O’Donohue said work permits and curfews were ‘deeply troubling in a democracy.’
‘Such laws were the centre piece of apartheid South Africa and scores of totalitarian or fascist governments,’ he said.
‘For those who have fled such regimes, these laws will be deeply troubling.’
In South Africa, so-called pass laws were used to segregate the white and black populations by requiring citizens to carry pass books when outside a certain area.
They were repealed in 1986 as apartheid was unwound.
A police state is a system of government where a police force tightly controls and monitors citizens’ activities, often secretly.
Vulnerable children will also still be allowed to access child care.
Advice on at-home care, including babysitting, would be provided later on Wednesday, the premier added.
‘There will be many, many families who will not be able to access child care as they normally would and that is essential to … driving down these numbers,’ Mr Andrews said.
The government also announced a winding back of non-urgent surgery in regional Victoria, which has gone into stage three lockdown, to cope with coronavirus cases.
Elective surgeries had already been cut back in Melbourne to create capacity for aged care residents.
More than 300 residents had been moved out of aged care facilities to hospitals, Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said.
NSW reported 12 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday. Pictured: Passengers in the baggage hall at Sydney Airport after arriving on Jetstar flight 510 from Melbourne
Of the 12 new cases in NSW, just one was in hotel quarantine. Pictured: Passengers in the baggage hall at Sydney Airport after arriving on Jetstar flight 510 from Melbourne on Wednesday
Latest coronavirus developments
* Another 15 Victorians have died, bringing the national death toll to 247.
* One of the deaths was a man in his 30s, making him Australia’s youngest coronavirus victim.
* 12 of the deaths are linked to outbreaks at aged care facilities.
* Victoria announced 725 new cases on Wednesday, narrowly edging out the state’s previous record of 723 on July 30.
* 12 new cases were reported in NSW, one in Queensland and one in Western Australia.
* Premier Daniel Andrews announced only permitted workers with no one at home will be able to send their children to child care, kindergarten or primary school.
* The Morrison government unveiled a childcare rescue package as Melbourne moves into a harsh six-week coronavirus lockdown.
* Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the initiative would secure childcare spots, while ensuring no centres closed or jobs were lost.
* The Andrews government also announced a winding back of non-urgent surgery in regional Victoria, heading into stage three lockdown from Thursday, to cope with coronavirus cases.
* Queensland will shut its border with NSW and ban ACT residents from 1am Saturday, despite Canberra having no active cases and not recording a new infection for almost a month.
* Road access will be blocked to all vehicles except those from border communities and carrying essential workers.
* Anyone else will have to travel by air or via the Northern Territory border.
* Queenslanders returning from NSW hotspots must quarantine in an assigned hotel for two weeks at their own expense.
* ‘I will not risk the safety of Queenslanders and I will not risk our economy,’ Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
* In NSW, travellers returning from Victoria will be forced into 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense from Friday. Entry into NSW will be restricted to flights landing at Sydney Airport, except for border community residents with permits.
* In South Australia, no new infections were reported on Wednesday after more than 4300 tests on Tuesday. The rush on tests was prompted by the devastating surge of infections in Victoria and a worrying cluster of cases in Adelaide.
* In Western Australia, the number of active cases rose to seven with the addition of an infected overseas traveller in hotel quarantine.
* August 2 to September 13 – stage four lockdown for Melbourne, including a nightly curfew, and stage three lockdown for regional Victoria.
* August 5 – Business shutdowns across Melbourne will begin from 11:59pm, and essential workers will need to begin carrying permits when travelling to and from work. Stage three restrictions in place from 11.59pm for regional Victoria, including Mitchell Shire.
* August 8 – Queensland to shut its border with NSW and ban ACT residents, with road access blocked to everyone except essential workers and border residents.
* August 31 – Tasmania’s borders will remain shut until at least the end of the month.
AUSTRALIAN CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS
* There were 739 new cases across Australia on Tuesday and 15 deaths.
* Australia’s total number of active cases is 7519.
* The national death toll as of Tuesday is 247: NSW 50, Victoria 162, Tasmania 13, WA 9, Queensland 6, SA 4, ACT 3. (Two Queensland residents who died in NSW have been included in the official tolls of both states).
GLOBAL CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS
* Cases: at least 18,544,000
* Deaths: at least 700,000
* Recovered: at least 11,143,000
Ms Mikakos defended her appearance at the sitting of Victoria’s upper house on Tuesday, against the advice of the state’s chief health officer.
‘I was there because the numbers in the upper house forced that situation. (Opposition Leader) Michael O’Brien and the Liberal party made it very clear they would force the upper house sitting,’ she said.
Meanwhile, NSW reported 12 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, which followed news the Queensland government had declared the entire state a virus hotspot.
The NSW-Queensland border will be again shut from 1am on Saturday.
‘We have seen that Victoria is not getting better and we’re not going to wait for NSW to get worse … we need to act,’ Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told reporters.
Ms Berejiklian said that decision was a matter for the Queensland government.
Of the 12 new cases in NSW, just one was in hotel quarantine. There were two linked to the 105-person Thai Rock Wetherill Park restaurant cluster, two connected to The Apollo restaurant in Potts Point and six associated with the funeral cluster.
One of the new cases was locally acquired with no known source.
The Sydney hotspots where residents should get coronavirus tests immediately – health officials list the high-risk suburbs for COVID-19
By Lauren Ferri
Sydney’s coronavirus hotspots have been revealed as health authorities urge residents to get tested as soon as possible, even for mild symptoms.
New South Wales recorded 12 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, with just one infection in hotel quarantine.
Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said people living in Sydney’s west and south-west need to come forward for testing due to the proliferation of cases in those districts.
‘The areas I am particularly urging the community to come forward is in south-western Sydney and western Sydney, the local government areas of Cumberland, Parramatta, Fairfield, Bankstown, Liverpool and Campbelltown,’ Ms Chant told reporters.
Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant says people in Sydney’s west and south-west need to come forward for coronavirus testing as soon as possible
Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant say the local government areas of Cumberland, Parramatta, Fairfield, Bankstown, Liverpool and Campbelltown need to be tested
‘I would urge the community with the most mild of symptoms to come forward for testing.’
Of the 12 new cases lodged on Wednesday, just one was locally acquired from an unknown source, one from overseas quarantine and ten were linked to known clusters.
‘We are very concerned about the unlinked cases,’ Ms Chant said.
‘We are concerned there may be chains of transmission we are yet to detect.’
Ms Chant told NSW residents to avoid or reduce social gatherings over the next few weeks, to reduce the chances of coming near infected people.
‘Just some small changes to their life which really means the number of interactions people are having is decreased,’ she said.
‘It means their likelihood of transmitting it to someone else is reduced.’
Of the ten new infections linked to known clusters, two were from the Thai Rock restaurant in Wetherill Park in Sydney’s west, and six infections are associated with the funeral gatherings cluster.
The other two positive tests are linked to the Apollo restaurant in Potts Point, causing fears the inner-city outbreak will continue to grow.
Two new coronavirus infections reported on Wednesday are linked to the Apollo restaurant in Potts Point (pictured)
There are now 105 cases associated with Thai Rock Wetherill Park cluster and 30 connected to the Potts Point outbreak, including 24 cases linked the Apollo restaurant and six linked to Thai Rock restaurant at Potts Point.
NSW Health said there are 113 active coronavirus cases across the state and nine patients are receiving treatment in intensive care, with six on ventilators.
There were 22,087 tests conducted over 24 hours to 8pm on Tuesday, compared to 12,876 the previous day.
An alert has been issued for Kids Learning Academy in Busby, in Sydney’s south-west, after a confirmed coronavirus case visited the venue on July 29 while infectious.
The case is a child of a previously reported infection, linked to Mounties in Mount Pritchard.
Kids Learning Academy has been closed for deep cleaning and contact tracing is underway.
Two students from Greenway Park Public School and one pupil from Bonnyrigg High School, which were reported as cases on Tuesday, were confirmed in Wednesday’s case numbers.
The three students are linked to the growing Mounties Club cluster in Mount Pritchard.