Danny O’Brien MP says country areas should certainly be treated differently in any statewide shutdown scenario.

VICTORIA is at risk of being shut down again as the State Government loses control of the pandemic in Melbourne’s northern and western suburbs.

While revealing a further 74 positive cases today, of which the origin of a worrying 53 is unknown, the Premier Daniel Andrews acknowledged a return to Stage Three restrictions was on the cards.

“If this gets away from us comprehensively, I will not be locking down 12 postcodes, I will be locking down all postcodes… if we don’t all work together and follow the rules, all postcodes will be locked down,” Mr Andrews said.

And he didn’t mince his words about where the pandemic is going in the next few days.

“There will be some big numbers and some big days ahead,” Mr Andrews said.

However, many are already questioning why regional Victoria should be shut down as well with positive numbers hardly moving in country areas.

Gippsland technically has two active cases at the moment, one in the City of Latrobe and one in East Gippsland but locals in East Gippsland say the new case listed in their area doesn’t live locally.

Gippsland South MLA Danny O’Brien says the government needs to get serious about supporting regional Victoria.

“Gippslanders have been very cooperative but I think their patience would be sorely tested if new statewide restrictions were imposed on them because of outbreaks in Melbourne,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Country areas should be treated differently given our low number of cases.

“I’ve been calling on the government to allow the easing of restrictions in Gippsland, at least for our pubs, restaurants and cafes given our local cases are almost non-existent and our hospitality sector needs the support of locals.

“I appreciate people will be nervous about welcoming tourists from Melbourne, which is another reason local people should be able to better support local businesses,” he said.

Official COVID-19 report

The total number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Victoria on Sunday is 2536 with 74 new cases reported yesterday.

The overall total has increased by 67, with seven cases reclassified.

Within Victoria, 16 new cases are linked to outbreaks, four new cases have been identified through routine testing and 53 cases are under investigation. One new case has been detected in a returned traveller in hotel quarantine.

There have been no new deaths reported. To date, 20 people have died from coronavirus in Victoria.

There have been 401 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Victoria that have been acquired through unknown transmission. There are currently 543 active cases in Victoria.

Currently, 26 people with coronavirus infection are in hospital, including three patients in intensive care. 1971 people have recovered from the virus.

Of the total 2536 cases, there have been 2189 in metropolitan Melbourne and 258 in regional Victoria. The total number of cases is made up of 1336 men and 1184 women. More than 928,100 tests have been processed to date.

Of the new cases which have already been linked to outbreaks, the breakdown is as follows.

  • Two new cases linked to the Stamford Plaza outbreak, one household contact and one contracted security guard who was already in quarantine, taking the total number of cases linked to the outbreak to 42.
  • One new case linked to the Truganina family outbreak, a close contact of a known case, taking the total number of cases linked to the outbreak to 14.
  • Eight new cases linked to the Al-Taqwa College outbreak, all previously identified close contacts. We have also linked some existing cases, taking the total number of cases linked to the outbreak to 59.
  • One new case and one case previously under investigation have been linked to the Flemington public housing outbreak, taking the total number of cases linked to the outbreak to 14.
  • Two new cases linked to the Roxburgh Park outbreak, two close contacts of a known case, taking the total number of cases linked to the outbreak to 28.
  • As referred to yesterday, two new healthcare worker cases linked to the Northern Hospital Epping Emergency Department, taking the total number of cases linked to the outbreak to five.

Two cases which were previously under investigation have also been linked to the North Melbourne public housing outbreak, taking the total number of cases linked to the outbreak to 13.

Other new cases of note:

  • One new case in a healthcare worker at the Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital, a close contact of a known case who was already in quarantine.
  • One new case of a healthcare worker at Royal Melbourne Hospital. It’s believed the worker attended the site for one day while infectious and so far, the Department is not aware of any contact with patients. The contact tracing process is underway.

With two separate outbreaks in public housing towers the Victorian Government yesterday announced new measures to slow the spread of the virus amongst these communities.

The nine towers involved are now closed and residents are required to stay in their homes at all times. This will be in place for at least five days to ensure we can test every single resident. The lifting of this restriction will be determined by our success in testing and tracking this virus.

On the advice of our health experts, the number of hotspot postcodes was expanded yesterday to include 3031 and 3051. This is now in effect.

The Australian Medical Association has just made the statement that all governments should stop easing restrictions until Victoria gets the present spike in cases under control.