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Australia Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews warns entire state could go back into lockdown if coronavirus cases continue to rise

04:08  01 july  2020
04:08  01 july  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says the whole state may be placed in lockdown down if the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise.

His warning came as he said imposing a lockdown on 10 postcodes which were COVID-19 hotspots had been a "difficult call".

Mr Andrews said he was given public health advice to shut down the hotspot suburbs immediately or face "shutting down all postcodes later".

From 11:59pm on Wednesday, about 311,000 residents in the following postcodes will be restricted from leaving the house except for essential purposes: 3012, 3021, 3032, 3038, 3042, 3046, 3047, 3055, 3060, 3064.

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Victoria recorded 64 new coronavirus cases overnight, the 14th consecutive day of double-digit case increases in the state.

Stage three restrictions will remain in place until at least July 29.

"If we don't get control of this really quickly we will end up with … a whole state shutdown," Mr Andrews said on 3AW radio.

"This is not over. This is so wildly infectious that even minor breaches of the rules can lead to this random movement of the virus around the community."

Mr Andrews said residents in postcodes not under lockdown still had a part to play in slowing the spread of the virus, warning people must not go out if they felt sick.

He said a "booze bus-type arrangement on main thoroughfares in and out of the areas" would be set up to enforce the restrictions.

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Premier Daniel Andrews said the relaxed coronavirus restrictions were just a "small first step". Victorian students are likely to return to face-to-face learning before the end of term two. Victorians who can work from home must continue to work from home until the end of May, he said.

"There will be random checks about why people are out of their house and if they have a valid reason," he said.

"I hope we don't have to issue any fines but unless you enforce these rules they won't be followed."

Mr Andrews said if people did not follow the rules, and cases continued to rise, he would "be locking down all suburbs".

He said in order for the 10 postcodes to reopen, health authorities needed to see daily cases driven down.

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"The message is really clear if you want to see these lockdowns eased … follow the rules, use common sense, don't pretend it's over," he said.

"If someone comes to your doorstep and offers you a test, the right answer is yes.

"If this continues to get away from us we will all be in lockdown."

Mandatory testing a 'last resort'

Acting Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly called the Victorian measures "strong and appropriate" and supported the Premier's warning that further lockdowns could be needed.

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"Very clearly they will be expanded if necessary and, importantly, they will be enforced," he told RN Breakfast.

"We are looking very closely. That's always a possibility.

"We know where the cases are and we have a large testing program. We will know if it's working."

More than 900 people in Broadmeadows and Keilor Downs alone have refused to have a test and there have been questions about whether they should be mandatory.

Professor Kelly said that should be a last resort.

"All of the state and territory chief health officers have powers under their public health acts that can make testing and other mechanisms mandatory," he said.

"But it's a last resort. I think explaining and getting cooperation is the first way."

"I think 100,000 have said yes [to testing] so let's concentrate on the positive," he said.

Mr Andrews also rejected making testing mandatory.

He said it would require a police officer having to go door-to-door with health officials in the lockdown suburbs, which would create practical problems.

"We urge people to get tested," he said.

Professor Kelly said wearing a mask in the affected areas could be part of the solution.

"If people are in that setting and cannot avoid large groups of people, masks may be part of the solution, but it's not the only solution," he said.

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Premier of Australia's Victoria defends hard COVID-19 lockdown .
Premier of Australia's Victoria defends hard COVID-19 lockdownThe premier of Australia's second-most populous state, Victoria, defended on Sunday his decision to put nine public housing towers in a complete lockdown as coronavirus cases continue to rise in Melbourne's suburbs.

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