Coronavirus crisis: Victoria’s virus cases jump by 108

Andi YuAAP
VideoThere are calls for masks to be worn in Victoria.

Victoria has recorded 108 new coronavirus cases, forcing the immediate lockdown of nine inner Melbourne public housing towers and stay-at-home orders for another two postcodes.

Premier Daniel Andrews said on Saturday the immediate public housing lockdown would effect 3000 people for five days and would require an unprecendented level of help from police to enforce.

The public housing estates are located in Flemington and North Melbourne, two suburbs joining Melbourne’s growing list of COVID-19 hotspots.

Residents will be required to stay inside their homes at all times.

“There will be no one allowed in...and no one allowed out,” Mr Andrews said.

Deputy chief medical officer Annaliese van Diemen said there was an outbreak of up to 30 cases across the public housing towers.

She said transmission of the virus among residents had happened because of close-quarters living and a lot of shared spaces such as lifts.

Health workers will go door-to-door in the housing towers doing virus tests and Mr Andrews warned that rejecting a test could mean the hard lockdown runs longer.

There will be no one allowed in...and no one allowed out.

The public housing residents are some of the city’s most vulnerable people and will receive “targeted and unique” support in the form of food and medical deliveries and drug and alcohol support.

“We will take care of you,” Mr Andrews said.

The two Melbourne postcodes to be locked down from 11:59pm tonight are 3031 (Flemington, Kensington and parts of Melbourne) and 3051 (North Melbourne) and are the same postcodes as the public housing towers.

There is now a total of 12 postcodes considered COVID-19 hotspots and subject to strict stay-at-home orders.

The premier used a bushfire metaphor for the drastic measures his government is taking, saying there had to be a perimeter around the towers to stop infection spreading.

The 108 new cases is the second biggest COVID-19 increase recorded in Victoria since the start of the pandemic.

If we don’t all follow the rules, every postcode will be locked down.

There are 509 active cases with 25 people in hospital and three in intensive care.

There is a total of 389 cases of community transmission, up 26 since Friday.

Of the 108 new cases, 69 are under investigation, 14 are from known outbreaks and 25 from routine testing.

“If we don’t all follow the rules, every postcode will be locked down,” Mr Andrews said.

“This is a very challenging day. These are very challenging times.”

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