The leaders of several Melbourne suburbs facing lockdowns tonight have expressed their frustration at residents who have refused tests as Victoria records 73 new coronavirus infections.
There have been 73 new COVID-19 cases recorded in Victoria, Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Wednesday, on the day 36 suburbs will go into localised lockdowns.
"We really just need to impress upon all Victorians that this is not over. It won't be over for a long time," Mr Andrews said.
The new cases included:
- Three from hotel quarantine
- Nine associated with known and contained outbreaks
- 19 found through routine testing
- 42 remain under investigation
"It is pleasing that there is some sense of stability to these numbers," Mr Andrews said.
"We are finding new cases but there are the beginnings of some consistency here and that is obviously better than other options where we might see doubling and doubling again."
He said more than 20,000 tests were conducted on Tuesday.
"It is critically important to reiterate how important it is to get tested if you are sick and how grateful we all are for those who have come forward in an unprecedented number."
It comes as 36 suburbs across Melbourne are set to enter lockdown tonight.
"I again make the point I know and understand that this will be deeply inconvenient ... It will be frustrating, it will be very challenging," Mr Andrews said.
"[But] ultimately, if I didn't shut down those postcodes, I'd be shutting down all postcodes and I don't think we want to get to that point."
"We all want to work hard, literally day and night to try and avoid that sort of an outcome."
Mr Andrews also said there had been "unacceptable infection control breaches in hotel quarantine".
"That's why we have cancelled those flights ... It is why there have been changes made in the way hotel quarantine operates and we will have an inquiry to determine exactly what has gone on here."
International flights into Victoria have been diverted for two weeks as a former judge begins an inquiry into the state's hotel quarantine program.
The former judge who leads the probe into the operation of the hotel quarantine program will report back in eight to 10 weeks.
Opposition health spokeswoman Georgie Crozier said the inquiry into the "scandal-ridden" and "shambolic" program was overdue.
Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said testing capacity was being expanded in and around the hotspot suburbs.
"In addition to the 22 existing testing sites that are available in or close to those restricted postcodes, we are in the process of opening at least 12 additional testing locations in those communities."
From Wednesday night, people living in 10 postcodes will return to stage three restrictions.
People in these postcodes will only be able to leave their homes for care or caregiving, to exercise, to purchase food and other essential items, or to go to work or school.
The restrictions will remain in place until at least 29 July.
Frustrated mayors left worried
Leaders in Melbourne's COVID-19 hotspots are angry residents have refused tests and are concerned for the welfare of people and businesses in the effected areas.
Maribyrnong City Council is among the hotspots, and Mayor Sarah Carter said reports of people refusing to be tested in the current blitz are frustrating.
"It makes me feel incredibly angry," she told the Nine Network on Wednesday.
"I just think it's the height of entitlement to be honest, not to take the test and I would urge everyone in our community, when asked, to take that test."
Carly Moore is the mayor of Hume which covers some of the outer northwest suburbs that will be locked down again.
She said she was devastated, particularly for local businesses, when she learned level three restrictions were being applied again.
"It's been a tough time for our community, we were starting to see some signs of hope, we were starting to get really optimistic about what the future might look like, and realistically, we're right back to square one," she told reporters.
Ms Moore was also angered by people refusing tests.
"Everybody needs to do their bit," she said.
"There's no reason why everybody in our community can't pull their weight and get the test."
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.
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