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Victoria drags the national COVID recovery plan down

Victorians ignoring social distancing as health authorities struggle to trace the source of dozens of new coronavirus cases are risking Australia's economic recovery and ability to further ease measures.

Locked-down states have seized on a spike of COVID-19 cases in Victoria - 44 over the weekend - to justify border closures, which continue to prevent the return of inter­national students and a travel bubble with New Zealand.

About 83 per cent of the nation­'s cases last week were from Victoria.

Just two weeks after tens of thousands of people attended Black Lives Matter protests, only three of 19 new COVID-19 cases Victoria reported yesterday were from returned overseas travellers in hotel quarantine, compared with all five new cases in NSW being internationally acquired.

 

The Black Lives Matter protest in Melbourne, where some people caught COVID-19. Picture: Alex Coppel.
The Black Lives Matter protest in Melbourne, where some people caught COVID-19. Picture: Alex Coppel.

 

Three BLM marchers in Victoria have tested positive for COVID-19.

Major clusters in Victoria now include close contacts of a family in Keilor Downs, where 11 cases are linked over nine households. Another 13 cases are Stamford Plaza hotel contractors. More than 1000 close contacts are being monitored.

NSW is watching the situation to ensure Victoria's failings do not affect the state's plans to reopen, with Premier Gladys Berejiklian expected to receive further advice on Monday after an initial briefing from her chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant.

"The NSW government, in consultation with (Dr Chant), will continue to take the steps required to protect the health of our citizens, " Ms Berejiklian's office said.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian (left) with the NSW Chief Medical Officer Dr Kerry Chant. Picture: AAP Image/Dean Lewins
Premier Gladys Berejiklian (left) with the NSW Chief Medical Officer Dr Kerry Chant. Picture: AAP Image/Dean Lewins

 

At least 10 of Victoria's new cases were from an unknown community source, four were connected to known clusters and two were being investigated. In several cases sick Victorians had ignored advice by continuing to go to work while sick, or mingling with family members even after testing.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews rolled back some of the state's eased restrictions, including limiting household gatherings to five guests, and venues to 20 until at least July 12. This will affect the $1.5 billion that Treasury estimated would be poured back into the national economy once Victoria implements stages two and three of easing restrictions.

Victoria chief health officer Brett Sutton urged families to reconsider interstate travel, in a further blow to tourism in NSW, where Victorians normally spend $3.7 billion a year.

 

 

Originally published as Victoria drags the national COVID recovery plan down



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