Victoria is the first state to reimpose virus restrictions after reporting double-digit infections. Image by James Ross/AAP PHOTOS

Health

Victoria bucks trend, reimposes some curbs

2020-06-21 17:30:42

Victoria has been forced to reimpose some COVID-19-related restrictions and defer others for three weeks after the state suffered its worst day of new cases in more than two months.

It was the first state or territory in Australia to buck the trend of easing restrictions and came as the World Health Organisation warned the world is in a “new and dangerous place”.

Premier Daniel Andrews also couldn’t rule out lockdowns being imposed in virus hotspots as the state recorded a further 25 cases since Friday.

It was the fourth consecutive day here new infections reached double-digits – there were 13 cases on Friday, 18 on Thursday and 21 on Wednesday.

From midnight on Sunday to July 12, household gatherings will be reduced to five people and outdoor gatherings to 10.

The plan for cafes, restaurants and pubs to allow 50 patrons at one time from 20 on Monday will also be put on hold until July 12.

Mr Andrews said more than half of the new cases have come from family-to-family transmission.

“It is unacceptable that families anywhere in our state can, just because they want this to be over, pretend that it is,” he told reporters in Melbourne on Saturday.

He said he had had a detailed conversation with Prime Minister Scott Morrison on the notion of lockdowns in a given area, and agreed this is part of the national cabinet road map to reopening.

He will also be speaking to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on potentially limiting people to travel from Victorian hotspots.

Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the rest of Australia seems to have gone down to zero infection levels, so there is no need to lift restrictions elsewhere.

Canberrans, for example, are now able to join together in larger groups, with restrictions lifted to allow cinemas and indoor play centres to reopen and gatherings of up to 100 people.

But South Australian health minister Stephen Wade said the outbreak in Victoria could delay SA’s plans to reopen its borders on July 20.

Meanwhile, the AFL was forced to postpone Sunday’s match between Essendon and Melbourne after Bombers defender Conor McKenna tested positive.

AFL chief Gillon McLachlan said McKenna, who returned from his native Ireland last month, had subsequently tested negative five times while in hotel quarantine, suggesting he was likely to have contracted the virus in Melbourne.

In NSW, a returned traveller in hotel quarantine was the only new case reported in the past 24 hours.

There were no new cases in Western Australia, although health authorities recorded one historical case – a woman aged in her 60s who was a returned overseas traveller and former cruise ship passenger on the Costa Luminosa.

Nearly 7440 cases have now been confirmed across Australia since the initial outbreak. The death toll remains at 102, relatively low by international standards.

There have been 8.5 million infections around the world with a combined death toll of 450,000.

WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus believes the world is in a “new and dangerous place”.

“Many people are understandably fed up being at home, but the virus is still spreading fast,” he warned on Friday.