Victoria has now surpassed Italy with more new daily infections per capita than the European coronavirus hotspot.
Premier Daniel Andrews has ordered 36 suburbs across Melbourne into lockdown to slow the alarming rise in new cases.
Health officials confirmed there were 64 COVID-19 cases in the state on Tuesday and 75 on Monday, following a fortnight of double-digit daily increases.
In Italy, a country with a population ten times higher than Victoria at 60 million, there were 126 new cases on Tuesday and 174 infections on Monday.
Victoria has now surpassed Italy, with more new daily infections per capita than the European coronavirus hotspot
Medical staff are pictured conducting COVID-19 tests at a Mobile Testing Site at CB Smith Reserve Fawkner, Melbourne
Residents line up to get swabbed at a COVID-19 pop-up testing site in Broadmeadows, 15km north of Melbourne’s CBD
‘Too many people are still going out when they’re sick. Too many people are ignoring rules about physical distancing and pretending restrictions don’t matter,’ Mr Andrews told reporters when he announced 10 postcodes in Melbourne’s north and west would be shut down as of late Wednesday night.
‘That means some tough decisions. And a return to tougher restrictions.’
Italy was among the countries hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, recording 240,578 cases and 34,767 deaths.
While the total number of Victorian COVID-19 cases – 2159 infections including 20 deaths – is significantly lower in comparison, the emerging spike is still a major concern for the state’s leaders.
‘Very clearly, we are not where we wanted to be. And as today’s case numbers show, Victoria is experiencing significant community transmission of coronavirus,’ Mr Andrews said.
The reason for the jump has been traced back to ‘infection control breaches in the state’s hotel quarantine program’ where return travellers are forced to remain under guard for a 14-day period when they arrive.
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews is pictured speaking to the media after announcing an inquiry into the state hotel quarantine program
The 36 Melbourne suburbs set to go into lockdown at midnight
These are the ‘hot zones’ going into lockdown until July 29
* 3012 – Brooklyn, Kingsville, Maidstone, Tottenham, West Footscray
* 3021 – Albanvale, Kealba, Kings Park, St Albans
* 3032 – Ascot Vale, Highpoint City, Maribyrnong, Travancore
* 3038 – Keilor Downs, Keilor Lodge, Taylors Lakes, Watergardens
* 3042 – Airport West, Keilor Park, Niddrie
* 3046 – Glenroy, Hadfield, Oak Park
* 3047 – Broadmeadows, Dallas, Jacana
* 3055 – Brunswick South, Brunswick West, Moonee Vale, Moreland West
* 3060 – Fawkner
* 3064 – Craigieburn, Donnybrook, Mickelham, Roxburgh Park, Kalkallo
The four reason residents in locked down suburbs can leave home
* To buy food and supplies
* To receive medical care or provide care
* To exercise (only two people within a group)
* To work or study if you cannot from home
What will close in the suburbs?
* Gyms, indoor sporting venues, play centres, cinemas and entertainment venues
* Beauty parlours
* Golf, community sport and recreational activities including fishing
* TABs in pubs
* $5000 grant will be available to affected businesses
* Home auctions to be online only and inspections by appointment
* Cafes, clubs, pubs and restaurants – dining in will be closed
What will stay open during the lockdown?
* Cafes, clubs, pubs and restaurants – restricted to home delivery or takeaway services
* Schools will return as planned from July 13
How will the lockdown be enforced?
* Regular police patrols
* Anyone found outside their home without a reason will receive an on-the-spot fine of $1652; non-essential businesses face $9913 fine
* Police stationed at main transport corridors in and out of affected suburbs
This map shows the suburbs which will be subject to stay-at-home orders from Wednesday at 11.59pm after a spike in coronavirus cases
Mr Andrews admitted some security contractors had not followed COVID-safe protocols, which has led to the soaring rate of infection.
‘Clearly there has been a failure in the operation of this program,’ he said.
‘I have today ordered the establishment of an inquiry, led by a former judge, into the operation of the hotel quarantine program.
‘I’ve also asked the Prime Minister to divert flights to other cities for the next two weeks while we reset the program under the supervision of Corrections Victoria.’
A man places a swab in his nose at a pop-up coronavirus testing facility in Broadmeadows
A member of the Australian Defence Force administers a COVID-19 test at Melbourne Showgrounds
Booze bus-style road checks will be put in place at midnight on Wednesday for 300,000 residents living in Melbourne’s ‘hot zones’.
Under Level Two restrictions, there are only four valid reasons for leaving home – work or study, giving or receiving medical care, exercise and essential shopping.
Anyone in breach of the strict measures will face a $1652 fine.
More than 93,000 Victorians have been tested in the past five days and Mr Andrews has confirmed door-to-door mass testing in the affected areas will continue.
There are currently 321 active coronavirus cases across the state.
A medical workers places a swab in an elderly man’s nose as he is tested for coronavirus in Melbourne