Saturday, 08 August, 2020

Australia's Victoria sees COVID-19 cases drop, still mulling curbs

A woman in a green jacket orange pants and patterned mask waits at a pedestrian crossing Melburnians have been watching increasing COVID case numbers with dismay
Gustavo Carr | 01 August, 2020, 18:41

Australia's national Covid-19 toll has risen to 201 with three deaths in Victoria and one in NSW, as health officials weigh up whether stay-at-home orders in place across Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire are doing enough.

41 Victorian COVID-19 patients are in ICU with 24 on ventilators.

Not being able to track the source of a case of COVID-19 had become a "silent enemy", Mr Andrews said.

On Friday, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton acknowledged that tighter restrictions would create their own public health harm as they hit mental health, employment and businesses.

Queensland's latest case of Covid-19 is a woman who may have been infectious while working at a Brisbane nursing home.

And the number of cases classified as community transmission jumped by almost 100 between Thursday and Friday.

"It is not a tap you can just turn on or off".

Hopes that Australia may have escaped the worst ravages of the coronavirus pandemic were fast fading on Friday as a growing outbreak in its second-largest city has officials eyeing draconian measures to curtail the spread.

New Queensland coronavirus cases prompt major testing blitz across Logan, Brisbane
Chatswood Hills State School also closed for deep cleaning today after one of the women worked at after school care. Mr Cully said he hoped the school would be able to open again next week but would wait for public health advice.

The premier said the Australian Defence Force and health department teams had visited 500 homes yesterday to ensure that people were self-isolating and found that a quarter were not at home.

Police Minister Lisa Neville said Victoria Police was still seeing "appalling" instances of people travelling out of their postcodes and breaching lockdown restrictions.

"They are just three of the fines that we saw issued yesterday".

"There is absolutely no reason or need to drive from Melbourne to Wodonga to have a Big Mac".

Another person was fined for driving an hour and a half from Melbourne to Ballarat "for fresh air", while another took an hour-long drive from Werribee to Springvale "to buy groceries", she said.

However, Cromer said she was not saying the daily totals would be realised.

"I think there is no question when Victoria Police pull people over they are aware of the rules, but these people have made a decision to breach, blatantly breach, the chief health officer's directives". It is also mandatory to wear masks in public.

Mr Andrews said one of the reasons these cases mattered so much was because when the infection couldn't be traced, it left open the possibility that somewhere, someone was unwittingly spreading the virus. Check your state's restrictions on gathering limits.