The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) has strongly discouraged travel to and from six local government areas in Victoria known to be hotspots for new COVID-19 cases.
The AHPPC has discouraged travel to and from Hume, Casey, Brimbank, Moreland, Cardinia and Darebin until control of community transmission has been confirmed.
The committee — which includes all the state chief health officers and is chaired by Australia’s chief medical officer, Brendan Murphy — says the advice is based on figures which show more than 83 per cent of new covid-19 cases in Australia in the past seven days have been recorded in Victoria.
Victoria saw a surge in coronavirus cases with 19 new cases recorded overnight Sunday — the state’s fifth day in a row of new coronavirus cases in the double digits.
Health authorities say most of the state’s new cases are linked to clusters — often within extended families — which has created worrying hotspots in parts of the state.
Where are Victoria’s coronavirus hotspots?
They’re all in local government areas that include parts of Melbourne.
There are currently no hotspots in regional Victoria.
These hotspots take in suburbs on the west, north and south-east of the city.
The Melbourne CBD has the highest number of active cases, but that’s where returned international travellers are undergoing mandatory hotel quarantine.
And those cases, acquired overseas, are not the ones health authorities are most worried about.
Melbourne’s CBD has the highest number of cases because that is where returned travellers are housed.(ABC News: Ron Ekkel)Coronavirus update: Follow all the latest news in our daily wrap.So which parts of Melbourne are of greatest concern?
The Government is most concerned about the local government areas (LGAs) that have seen the highest number of cases since the start of June.
As of Saturday, those included:
Hume (17)Brimbank (10)Casey (7) Darebin (6)Moreland (6)Cardinia (6) Victoria Police will increase spot checks on people who are supposed to be in self-isolation.(Supplied: Victoria Police, file photo)Why have these parts of Melbourne seen so many coronavirus cases?
Premier Daniel Andrews says since April, half of Victoria’s new coronavirus cases have come from family-to-family transmission.
The two biggest family clusters in recent weeks are known as the Keilor Downs family cluster and the Coburg family cluster — both named after the suburbs in Melbourne where they’re believed to have begun.
Together, those two family clusters account for 25 cases and include residents in the Hume, Brimbank, Moreland and Cardinia LGAs.
The other main sources of Victoria’s recent COVID-19 cases include two large clusters among workers at the Stamford Plaza Hotel in Melbourne’s CBD and the Rydges on Swanston hotel in Carlton.
These workers, many of whom would live in Melbourne’s suburbs, account for at least 30 cases.
The state’s coronavirus detectives have not been able to put their finger on exactly how the first transmission occurred, but given the hotels were both being used to quarantine returned international travellers, they believe a contractor picked it up from a traveller and the virus then spread among colleagues through a lack of social distancing.
A number of cases have been linked to the Rydges on Swanston hotel, where returned travellers are being housed.(ABC News, file photo)Read more about coronavirus:
A cluster originally linked back to a patient at Monash Health accounts for seven recent cases.
The Department of Health and Human Services confirmed it was primarily a family-based outbreak concentrated in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs.
There have also been two cases linked to the H&M store at Northland Shopping Centre in the Darebin LGA and a smattering of cases at aged care facilities, schools and early learning centres across Melbourne.
Many other cases are still under investigation.
How is Victoria dealing with its COVID-19 hotspots? Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton (left), Health Minister Jenny Mikakos (centre) and Premier Daniel Andrews (right) attended Saturday’s sombre press conference.(AAP: Luis Ascui)
After emergency meetings in recent days, the Premier announced some state-wide changes, restricting the number of visitors in homes to five, and limiting outdoor gatherings to 10, from 11:59pm Sunday.
But he also left the door open to initiating tougher lockdowns in the hardest-hit areas.
“It may be the case in the days ahead … where we have seen the data tells us a very clear story that there are extra cases and the highest number of cases, we may need to, for instance, reinstitute the stay-at-home [rule] except for the four reasons,” he said.
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Those “four reasons” are shopping for food and supplies, care and caregiving, exercise, and study or work if it cannot be done from home.
“We may need to go back to that setting in given geographical areas,” Mr Andrews said.
Police Minister Lisa Neville said police would be stepping up their enforcement of coronavirus measures, including issuing more fines and conducting more spot checks on people who had been told to self-isolate.
She said the additional enforcement would happen “particularly in those hotspot areas” as well as campgrounds where groups may congregate on the school holidays.
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