Coronavius in Melbourne on June 29.
Coronavius in Melbourne on June 29.

75 cases: Millennials ignoring rules risk ‘killing family’

continues to surge, bringing the state's total to 2099.

Of the new cases, one was detected in hotel quarantine, 14 have been linked to known outbreaks, 37 were discovered through routine testing, six cases were through community transmission and 23 are under investigation.

There are now 288 active cases in Victoria.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said many of the new cases were overwhelmingly from the hotspot suburbs.

"We've got many cases across the inner northern suburbs and the western suburbs of Melbourne, but not exclusively and it's important to reiterate to the community that you are not immune from catching coronavirus by virtue of the postcode that you live in," she said.

"There is now a link that has been established between the North Melbourne family outbreak and the Brimbank family up break. Four of the new cases have been linked to this outbreak, and the department is investigating the exact nature of the link there."

Three of the new cases have been detected in security contractors who were already in hotel quarantine due to the outbreak at Stamford Plaza.

Ms Mikakos said the security contractors had undertaken their day 11 tests as was standard practice in a known outbreak, so those people were already in quarantine.

The Stamford Plaza outbring has now reached 23.

"We have one new case that is a close contact linked to the Wollert outbreak, bringing that total to 10. There are three new cases linked to a family, and this is a new outbreak, a family and Patterson Lakes and Lysterfield bringing the total in this outbreak to four," she said.

There are three new cases linked to a new family outbreak in Truganina, bringing that outbreak to a total of five cases.

A number of schools have been impacted by new cases, but they were already closed due to school holidays.

SCHOOLS: Queen of Peace Parish Primary School, Aitken Hill primary in Craigieburn, Fitzroy High School, Port Phillip Specialist School, and Al-Taqwa College in Truganina.

A healthcare worker at Melbourne Clinic at Richmond and a staff member at Lifeblood Red Cross processing facility are also among the new cases.

YOUNG PEOPLE 'RISKING LIVES' OF FAMILY

Health authorities in Victoria have been quick to blame young people for the state's rapid spike in COVID-19 cases, claiming they have ignored restrictions.

According to the latest figures, adults in their 20s and 30s represent about a third of the state's second-spike caseload compared with the first wave.

Victoria's chief health officer Brett Sutton has pointed the finger at asymptomatic people younger than 40 who he believes are likely responsible for spreading the virus.

People line up at a pop-up testing facility in Broadmeadows.
People line up at a pop-up testing facility in Broadmeadows. Getty Images

Prof Sutton said it was important younger people understood the message and didn't dismiss mild symptoms.

"No one wants to be in the position where you're killing a family member because you're not looking after yourself in terms of the risk of transmission," he said.

"It is reflected in the numbers that young people are infected more now, they're making up a greater proportion."

Ms Mikakos said more young people were getting together with mates and then taking the virus home to their families.

"We don't want people to be complying because they're fearful of getting a fine, we want people to comply because they want to drive down the numbers," she said.

"We will take whatever steps are necessary in the interest of public health."

TESTING AND ISOLATING ARE KEY

Victoria's big virus numbers today are concerning and it will get worse before it gets better, Prof Sutton says.

The recent outbreaks and high number of cases continue to be linked to large gatherings across multiple households and work settings.

"It is a concerning number. But it is very hard to make reductions in this space. What I would say is that we know what works already. We just need people to do it," Prof Sutton said.

"So that means runny nose, sore throat, fever, whatever the symptoms are, stay-at-home, get your test, don't interact with other people until you have that test result back and you are well."

Prof Sutton said testing and isolating when symptomatic were key to turning Victoria's worsening virus situation around.

"What we are seeing is transmission across settings because people are still going out with symptoms," he said.

"So whether or not a legal direction I think is a conversation to be had over the next couple of days. We are not there yet. But we do know that the solution is there already. With these people not having unnecessary contacts across multiple households, across multiple settings. That will control transmission."

Public health team members speak just before they can door knocking during a COVID-19 testing blitz.
Public health team members speak just before they can door knocking during a COVID-19 testing blitz. Getty Images

Prof Sutton said he wanted to get to the point where every case in Victoria was tested and traced.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the latest numbers in Victoria were of "serious concern" but "not surprising" as testing ramped up to track the outbreak.

He said he would speak to Daniel Andrews this afternoon about the "difficult situation", adding that the Premier had his "full support".

"We will put in every resource we need to deal with that outbreak in Victoria," Mr Morrison said.

"Whatever additional resources the Premier may need, I'm sure we'll be able to fulfil those requests."

Mr Morrison said he would talk to Mr Andrews about whether localised lockdowns would be required.

"The Premier and I are very adamant that we do what is necessary to contain this outbreak," he said.

"We can leave no stone unturned and no resource left unapplied to this task."

MELBOURNE AIRORT CLEANER TESTS POSITIVE

A cleaner working at the Australian Border Force base at Melbourne Airport has tested positive to coronavirus.

Staff at Customs House at Tullamarine were informed on Sunday a cleaning contractor was infected with COVID-19.

The site was due to undergo cleaning on Monday.

The Department of Home Affairs described it as a "precautionary clean".

The Department said in a statement: "The safety and wellbeing of our officers remains a key priority in protecting our borders."

It added: "The Department will follow all directions provided by Victorian Health".

A staff member who works at Customs House said the site would remain open.

The employee, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Herald Sun staff were sent a message that it was optional whether they wanted to come into work on Monday while the cleaning took place.

The employee said the message informed them they could stay home if they felt uncomfortable.


FOOTY CALLED OFF OVER OUTBREAK SCARE

This week's West Coast-Richmond clash at Metricon Stadium has been abandoned because of Victoria's deepening coronavirus situation.

The Tigers were due to meet the Eagles on the Gold Coast on Thursday night, but Queensland border closures have forced the game to be postponed.

It is the second match abandoned since this month's season restart.

The AFL has moved quickly this morning to alter the fixture and reschedule its Round 5 games to keep the season rolling.

The struggling Tigers will now play Melbourne at the MCG on Sunday.

Read the full story

SALIVA TEST FAST-TRACKED TO VIRUS HOTSPOT SUBURBS

A world-first Victorian-made saliva test will be rolled out to coronavirus hotspots from today as authorities race to contain the deadly disease and prevent suburban lockdowns.

Residents living near virus clusters in the city's northwest and southeast could face shutdowns within days but the government hopes that can be avoided by an army of health teams going door to door with the new testing kits.

The new saliva test, a breakthrough developed by scientists at the Doherty Institute in Melbourne, will also be available to travellers in hotel quarantine.

The technology, which is less invasive than the nasal swab, will help blitz the city's hot spots by providing results for children, elderly people and other Victorians who could not previously have been tested.

Premier Daniel Andrews yesterday warned major interventions, including shutting off suburbs, are on the table as experts expect to get a true picture of the extent of the spread of the virus from tomorrow.

It’s hoped saliva testing will be less invasive for children, elderly people and other Victorians who could not previously have been tested.
It’s hoped saliva testing will be less invasive for children, elderly people and other Victorians who could not previously have been tested.


Over the last week the Andrews Government has faced criticism over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Critics say it has mismanaged hotel quarantine, communicated mixed messages and allowed a mass protest in Melbourne's CBD to confuse people about what they can and can't do.

The government yesterday responded to the backlash over its handling of its quarantine program by following the NSW Government's lead and announcing returned travellers who ­refuse to be tested for coronavirus would be forced to stay in hotels for an extra 10 days.

The NSW Government had introduced the hotel quarantine changes three days earlier.

Two per cent of travellers in Sydney hotels have refused a test compared with 15 to 20 per cent in Melbourne. Last Friday that figure was estimated to be as high as 30 per cent.

Opposition Leader Michael O'Brien said the rule change had come too late, with thousands of people having already left quarantine without testing.

 

"Daniel Andrews is making last-minute changes to things that should have been fixed up weeks ago," he said. "The problem in Victoria is that we have clusters that have not been stepped on quickly enough.

"Daniel Andrews should have required mandatory testing weeks ago, not after we are on the verge of a second wave of coronavirus."

Victoria had 49 new cases of COVID-19 announced on Sunday. Nationally there are three other cases.

Mr Andrews said the government was "doing a power of work" to contain the virus.

"Putting this out is very challenging. Containing it, though, is something that we can do," he said.

"If we have to limit movement in some of these suburbs, then that is what we will do."

Speaking about the new saliva tests, Mr Andrews said: "It's much more about priority.

"In a given geographic area where you want to draw the maximum take-up, you might run out thousands of those tests.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews defended his government’s response to the virus.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews defended his government’s response to the virus.

"In the main it will be very targeted. The move to the saliva tests is a real game-changer.

"It's a first for our country and I think it will be leading the world in many ways."

The new test has been developed with help from a $6 million government grant to the Doherty Institute.

Of the 49 new cases yesterday, 26 were found from routine testing and 19 are under investigation. Four others are linked to existing clusters.

Ascot Valley Primary School and Essendon Keilor College will be deep-cleaned after a student - part of the large Keilor Downs family cluster - attended the schools while infectious last term.

Victoria's total number of cases sits at 2028.

Australian Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd yesterday said the spike in cases was not a "second wave" of the pandemic but was "a matter of genuine concern".


Originally published as 75 new cases as Melbourne virus crisis deepens

A mobile testing van visits one of Victoria’s hotspot suburbs, Broadmeadows. Picture: AAP
A mobile testing van visits one of Victoria’s hotspot suburbs, Broadmeadows. Picture: AAP

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