Australia

Gladys Berejiklian says don't 'interact with people from Melbourne' as Victoria records 17 more coronavirus cases

Victoria will prioritise testing people in those identified hotspots and increase messaging to Victorians with diverse backgrounds. Source: AAP

Victoria has recorded double-digit growth in new coronavirus cases for the seventh day in a row.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian says tourism operators should be wary of Melbourne travellers as Victoria confirms its seventh straight day of double-digit coronavirus infections.

"I call on all organisations not to interact with citizens from Melbourne at this stage," Ms Berejiklian said on Tuesday.

"I would definitely encourage organisations to consider who to allow on their premises and where they're coming from," she said.

The call comes as Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed 17 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the state's tally to 1864. More than 100 cases remain active.

One of the new cases is a returned traveller in hotel quarantine, two are linked to a known outbreak while three are the subject of routine testing.

Eleven cases remain under investigation.

"What we can be certain of is that there will be some significant community transmission within those numbers," Mr Andrews said.

"We simply can't pretend that the virus is gone, that the virus is somehow not in our state. It's here, it travels so fast, it is so infectious."

It comes as Brunswick East Primary School and Keilor Views Primary School were closed after a student at each facility tested positive for the virus.

The schools will remain closed until at least Friday for cleaning, with contact training also underway to determine whether any staff or students will be required to self-isolate.

The closure of Keilor Views Primary School comes after the adjacent Keilor Downs College was forced to shut again on Monday.

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The college was closed after an infected student went to school for two days.

The recent run of school closures is linked to family outbreaks in the area.

More than half of the state's new cases since the end of April have come from family members spreading it to their relatives, with the local government areas of Hume, Brimbank and Moreland in Melbourne’s west and Cardinia in the city’s east, declared as coronavirus hotspots.

A team of 50 will be doorknocking residents in the areas to provide them with additional information about the virus.

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee on Sunday urged residents in these hotspots not to leave their suburbs until community transmission is curbed.

Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer Alison McMillan, who sits on the AHPPC, said it was hoped the extra testing and advice for people to stay at home would contain the new outbreaks.

She said while Victoria was at a crossroads, it is not yet experiencing a second wave of the disease, with outbreaks likely to occur as long as coronavirus remains in the wider, global community.

A map showing the coronavirus hotspots in Victoria as identified by the state's health department.
A map showing the coronavirus hotspots in Victoria as identified by the state's health department.
Victorian Department Of Health And Human Services

 There was no magic case number to determine when action was needed or restrictions relaxed, rather, it was about how the virus moves through the community.

"We know that for many of the cases we are seeing in Victoria, there's clear links within families or within workplaces," Ms McMillan told 3AW radio.

"If we were to see more cases where there's not any clear link that would cause us greater concern."

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your state’s restrictions on gathering limits.

Testing for coronavirus is now widely available across Australia. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

The federal government's coronavirus tracing app COVIDSafe is available for download from your phone's app store.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.

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