Victoria has reported 64 new cases of coronavirus as the state battles a second wave of the disease.
The number is down from the 75 reported on Monday and is the state’s sixth-worst figure since the pandemic began.
The data comes as Prime Minister Scott Morrison urges Victoria to shutdown ‘hotspot’ suburbs or risk the coronavirus outbreak in the state getting even worse.
The curve in Victoria has skyrocketed over the past couple of weeks as coronavirus infections continue to grow from within the suburbs of Melbourne
Victoria has been carrying out a testing blitz in ten suburbs across Melbourne – and warned they could lock neighbourhoods down if COVID-19 infection rates keep rising. Pictured: The ten ‘hotspot’ suburbs
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has also announced 800 federal staff would soon be coming to Victoria to help deal with the outbreak.
Experts have declared Victoria is in a second wave of the virus.
‘I think this is clearly a second wave – the question is whether it is a ripple or the start of a tsunami,’ Professor Hamish McCallum, an infectious diseases expert from Griffith University, said.
‘Victoria needs to stamp out these emerging spikes as quickly as possible. In addition to the increased testing, I think there is a case to lockdown the hotspot suburbs. This is surely likely to lead to Queensland in particular reassessing whether to open the borders to Victoria and New South Wales.’
The 75 cases reported on Monday was Victoria’s biggest increase since March 31, bringing the state’s total to 2,099 cases on Monday night, of which 288 were active.
Victorians began to strip supermarket shelves again last week amid fears of a second wave of COVID-19 infections and pending lock down
Rules forcing patients to stay in their homes could be enforced more strictly with daily check-ups. Pictured: Community engagement teams are door knocking residents in coronavirus hotspots to provide additional information about the virus
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said he would recommend ‘anything necessary’ to stop the spread after 75 new cases were reported on Monday. Pictured: Testing at Melbourne Showgrounds on Monday
Most of the new spike in infections came from community-based transmissions rather than from overseas travellers, with many new cases being transmitted from people going to work or social gatherings when sick.
In March, Victorians largely agreed with the social distancing restrictions implemented as the country looked abroad at places like Italy that were at the time being decimated by COVID-19.
Back then, Mr Andrews was applauded for his strong and powerful presence and tough stance against a national collective which at the time appeared a little complacent.
Victorians got fully behind the restrictions aimed at community isolation measures designed to keep the daily number of disease cases at a manageable level for medical providers – known as the ‘curve’.
Lockdown 2.0: Which new rules would halt the spread?
Surburb shut downs: Chief Health Office Brett Sutton said this was possible but very hard logistically
Enforced quarantine: Rules forcing patients to stay in their homes could be enforced more strictly with daily check-ups
Reducing limits on gatherings: Under current rules, Victorians are allowed five visitors in their home at once and can meet in public in groups of 10 – but these limits could be revised down
Travellers kept in hotels: On Sunday the government extended the quarantine time for returned travellers to 24 days if they refuse to get tested after it was revealed that 30 per cent were being let out without a swab
Mr Andrews was seen as a strong leader in a time that Prime Minister Scott Morrison was being openly mocked for his response to the crisis.
Some mused that if the Victorian premier ran for prime minister in March, he probably would have been elected.
Move forward to June 30 and Mr Andrews is under siege from within and the people who just months ago had backed his play.
A Newspoll conducted for The Australian revealed on Tuesday a marked fall in voters’ trust for Mr Andrews.
The poll came as Victorians were told at least 30 per cent of people who went through hotel quarantine in the state refused to take a test – but were allowed to leave after 14 days anyway.
The Victorian government is considering fresh lockdown measures as the state is swamped by a second wave of coronavirus
Worst days in Victoria
1. 111 new cases on 28 March
2. 96 new cases on 31 March
3. 84 new cases on 29 March
4. 75 new cases on 29 June
5. 68 new cases on 2 April
It was further revealed that security guards and cleaners at quarantine hotels had not been trained properly.
This likely led to a spread of cases from quarantined travellers to the workers and then to their families, with the spread increased by the cold weather when socially connected large families gathered in closed spaces for longer.
Mr Andrews has also come under fire for allowing 10,000 protesters to hit the streets of Melbourne just as restrictions were about to be eased.
While Victorian Department of Health and Human Services officials continue to report that the current burst of cases does not stem from the Black Lives Matter rally, it has given the premier’s enemies an open door to attack him.
Liberal politicians have smashed the Andrews Government on social media in recent days.
Staff inside the Stamford Hotel in Melbourne are seen moving luggage for guests in quarantine last week. The Stamford has been a hot bed for COVID-19, with outbreaks linked back to security at the hotel