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Victorian Lockdowns for Hotspot Areas Will Be Considered This Week as State Records 75 New Cases

It's the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in the state in three months.
By Samantha Teague
June 29, 2020
By Samantha Teague
June 29, 2020

Victoria's Chief Medical Officer Professor Brett Sutton has today, Monday, June 29, said that reintroducing lockdowns will be considered in the "next couple of days" as the state records 75 new cases of COVID-19 — the highest number of new cases in three months (since March 30).

As the state's number of active cases has started to increase again over the past couple of weeks, the State Government extended its State of Emergency for four more weeks and tightened some gathering restrictions — including reintroducing smaller caps on at-home groups, gatherings out of the house and the numbers of patrons allowed in venues.

Late last week, Premier Daniel Andrews also announced a testing blitz that would focus on ten Melbourne hotspot suburbs where the state is experiencing high levels of community transmission. These suburbs are: Keilor Downs, Broadmeadows, Maidstone, Sunshine West, Albanvale, Hallam, Brunswick West, Reservoir, Pakenham and Fawkner. Victoria's Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said the 75 new cases are "overwhelmingly concentrated" in these suburbs.

While no tightening of restrictions were announced today, Sutton said potential lockdowns or stay-at-home orders will be discussed this week. "What we are seeing is transmission across settings because people are still going out with symptoms," Sutton said. "So whether or not a legal direction I think is a conversation to be had over the next couple of days. We are not there yet. But we do know that the solution is there already."

The possibility of lockdowns — specifically for the aforementioned hotspots — was also raised by the Premier last weekend when he said, "I cannot rule out and I won't rule out the notion of hotspots where we see substantial community transmission being subject to lockdowns."

#COVID19Vic: Restrictions and advice updated. Find all the details here: Keep washing your hands, getting tested, and keep your distance.

Posted by Victorian Department of Health & Human Services on Sunday, 28 June 2020

Over the next couple of days, Sutton has warned that the number of new cases will continue to increase as the testing blitz continues. "I think it'll get worse before it gets better," Sutton said. While the recent Victorian numbers are "concerning" according to Sutton, he's said there's still an opportunity to turn it around. "There is still an opportunity for that to turn around. If it isn't, absolutely, the public health directions changing the law is something we have to consider because we have to do whatever is required to turn this around," Sutton said.

At the moment, Victorians are allowed to go out to restaurants, bars and museums with limits of 20 people and one person per four square metres, up to five visitors in their homes and gatherings of up to ten people outside. They must continue to work at home if they can and the government has reiterated the importance of staying at home if they are sick — even if symptoms are mild.

"We absolutely want people to get the message that if they have symptoms, they shouldn't be going and visiting other people, they shouldn't be going out to any other setting, including work, because that is where we are seeing transition at the moment," Sutton said.

If you are sick, you should also get tested. The Government has launched a number of new testing sites, including drive-through testing facilities. You can check out the full list over here.

For more information about the status of COVID-19 in Victoria, head to the Department of Health and Human Services website

Published on June 29, 2020 by Samantha Teague


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