Drastic warning for NSW residents as new virus hotspots grow

Premier Gladys Berejiklian has issued a stern warning for NSW residents amid a spike in coronavirus cases in Victoria.

While NSW reported just two new cases of the coronavirus since Sunday evening, Victoria had 16 new cases on Monday, after recording 19 on Sunday.

While Ms Berejiklian has rejected the suggestion of a hard border closure with Victoria, she has advised people reconsider travelling to Melbourne.

She advised particularly advised against going to the city’s six current coronavirus hotspots - the local government areas of Hume, Casey, Brimbank, Moreland, Cardinia and Darebin.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has urged residents in NSW. to reconsider travelling to Victoria. Source: AAP
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has urged residents in NSW. to reconsider travelling to Victoria. Source: AAP

“At this stage, the advice is do not travel to those hotspots,” Ms Berejiklian told reporters on Monday.

“Do not go to the hotspots, reconsider your plans, reconsider what you're doing.”

While NSW is seemingly containing the virus well, Ms Berejiklian used the spike in cases in Victoria as a “wake up call”.

“I appreciate what Victoria is going through, but don't assume that it won't happen in New South Wales or anywhere else,” she said.

“It can happen very quickly, just with a couple of cases, a couple of instances of people spreading the virus unintentionally can cause a spike.”

A woman walks past St Paul's Cathedral while wearing a face mask as a preventive measure against the spread of novel coronavirus COVID-19 in Melbourne, Sunday, June 21, 2020.
The persistent rise of COVID-19 cases in Victoria means people must once again cancel social plans and struggling businesses must wait to reopen. Source: AAP

Ms Berejiklian added the state had no intention on changing the course of action, other than advising against travel to the hotspots in Victoria.

She also confirmed NSW would not be shutting its border to Victoria, or any other neighbouring state.

In NSW of the two new cases reported today, one was an international arrival, while the other was a man in his 30s and the source of his infection remains unknown.

While several new clusters of the coronavirus have emerged in Victoria, the state backflipped on its decision to ease restrictions.

Victoria’s active coronavirus case numbers are now the highest they have been in two months and there have been six consecutive days of double-digit growth.

South Australia’s Health Minister Stephen Wade said three SA officials will travel to Melbourne on Tuesday to assist local health officials with contact tracing.

“Victoria has had a significant surge and there have been more than 116 cases identified in seven days and 75 per cent of those have been a result of community transmission,” Mr Wade said.

“It’s very clear that as they continue to investigate those cases, they will need to get in early and to get in early you need to have the public health specialists who can interview particular cases and trace their close contacts.”

A general view is seen at Flavours Patisserie Cafe in Parkdale, Sunday, June 21, 2020.
Due to the rise in cases in Victoria the state has put off easing restrictions. Source: AAP Image

South Australia, which is planning to open all borders on July 20 alluded to Victoria’s outbreaks impacting whether the state reopens, SA Premier Steven Marshall said the state will act on public health advice.

“We won’t be opening our borders if it’s not safe to do so,” he said.

Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy has also warned against people travelling to and from the hotspots in Victoria.

Professor Murphy said authorities are sure the outbreaks would be brought under control and that the clusters were caused by families who were not taking social distancing measures seriously.

“We’re asking people to respect the public health situation and change their behaviour accordingly,” Professor Murphy told the ABC.

A man rides past a tree with a face mask and eyes stapled to it in Melbourne, Sunday, June 21, 2020.
Health officials from South Australia will travel to Melbourne to assist with contact tracing. Source: AAP

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the new cases in Victoria should not come as a surprise, as it was always said there would be “bumps along the road”.

“COVID hasn’t gone anywhere,” Mr Morrison said.

“It’s still out there and it can still take hold and so we can’t be complacent about it.”

Mr Morrison also deemed Victoria’s decision to delay lifting restrictions and looking at strong, localised lockdowns as sensible.

There have been 7461 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Australia, with 102 deaths and compared to the rest of the world, the numbers are low.

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