Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has warned residents “this is not over” as he announced on Tuesday a further 17 coronavirus cases in the state.
Sixteen of the cases were believed to be through community transmission, a recurring and concerning trend in recent days.
“We simply can't pretend that the virus is gone. That the virus is somehow not in our state. It is here. It travels so fast. It is so infectious,” he said.
Eleven cases are under investigation while two are linked to known outbreaks. Just one case was in hotel quarantine.
He warned anyone who has any symptoms must get tested and isolate.
“If you are sick, can you not go to work. If you are sick, you cannot visit friends and family. If you are sick, there's only one thing you should do, even with the mildest of symptoms, get tested.”
Between 16,000 and 18,000 people came forward to get tested on Monday, Mr Andrews said, praising the large turnout.
Small minority ‘pretending’ virus doesn’t exist
He said a small minority of people who tested positive have been “pretending” they hadn’t and deciding not to isolate.
Mr Andrews said he could not rule out punishments for those with the virus knowingly flouting the rules, however said the state government could not dictate to police who to fine.
“This is very, very serious. And if people keep pretending that this is over, just 'cause that's what they desperately want - and I understand that - we will finish up with a second wave and we will finish up with businesses closed and people back in their homes,” he said.
Following several family clusters, he urged large families not to breach social distancing rules and continue hygiene prevention methods.
Victoria recorded 16 new cases on Monday, 19 on Sunday and 25 on Saturday. Only nine of those 60 cases were in hotel quarantine.
The Education Department has confirmed East Brunswick Primary School and Keilor Views Primary School have both closed after a student at each school tested positive for the virus.
The schools lie within two of the six local government areas identified by the state government as hotspots for the virus.
Tuesday’s announcement is the seventh consecutive day the state has recorded double digit coronavirus cases. There have been 129 cases in the last week.
State Health Minister Jenny Mikakos has announced the government will be working with migrant groups to ensure the correct information was finding its way to those who aren’t native English speakers.
Eddie Micallef, chair of the Ethnic Communities' Council of Victoria, told the ABC it was “certainly possible” the recent surge in cases had been made worse due to language barriers.
“Look, I think the ethnic communities in this state have become a little complacent, like the rest of the community... so I think we have to step up our response to make sure that we contain any chance a second wave may have of getting a foot hold,” he said.
On Tuesday, NSW announced one further case in hotel quarantine, while WA revealed two returning travellers in hotel quarantine had the virus.
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