JULY 17, 2020
Australia’s second-most populous state recorded its single biggest spike in coronavirus cases for the second consecutive day as its capital city Melbourne is gripped by a second wave of infections.
Victoria state had 428 new cases in the past 24 hours, Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters Friday. That’s the largest single-day increase for any of Australia’s states and territories, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“These numbers are very challenging, we always said it would get worse before it got better,” Andrews said. “We have got significant virus and it is spreading across the Victorian community.”
The rise in cases comes about a week after Melbourne reimposed lockdown orders to combat a second wave of Covid-19 that’s now spread to Australia’s largest city, Sydney. The state has 5,165 cases of coronavirus, almost half of which were recorded since the movement restrictions were imposed on Thursday last week, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The lockdown has also scuppered Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s hopes that he would be able to help revive a crippled economy as movement restrictions were first eased after it tumbled into recession in the first half of the year. Victoria state accounts for about one quarter of Australia’s economic output.
New South Wales state tightened restrictions on gatherings Friday, fearing undetected cases of community transmission could spread rapidly as had occurred in Melbourne. All restaurants, clubs and cafes will be limited to bookings of a maximum 10 people and restricted to 1 person per four-square-meters, while weddings and other functions will be limited to 150 guests who must remain seated and not dance or mingle, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.
“We remain in a state of high alert, we remain concerned about the underlying community transmission that could be bubbling away,” she said. “We have to assume there’s a level of community transmission and these measures will reduce the risk of that community transmission getting out of control.”