Australia’s Victoria calls in military as coronavirus cases spike

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Greg Hunt

AUSTRALIA’s second-most populated state of Victoria on Wednesday asked the military and other jurisdictions for help as it struggles to contain a recent spike in the number of coronavirus cases.

Victoria, the state of which Melbourne is the capital, on Wednesday recorded 20 new cases and one death – the first COVID-19-related fatality in the country since May, health authorities said.

The state government asked the Australian Defence Force as well as the neighbouring states of New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, and Queensland, for help dealing with testing and logistics.

“This support will mean we can get even more tests done and results back quickly – and a stronger effort to remind Victorians if you are sick, stay home and get tested,’’ a government spokeswoman said.

Several Melbourne suburbs were identified as hotspots, as local health authorities scrambled to isolate the affected areas, warning people not to leave their suburbs.

Health authorities were also knocking on doors in the areas where a large migrant population resides, with many speaking languages other than English at home.

Community engagement in some 55 languages has been produced. The state government is mulling a return to strict lockdown measures.

Due to panic buying at supermarkets, purchase limits on toilet paper and other essential items were also reinstated in the state.

Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt, blamed Black Lives Matter rallies – which were held in all major Australian cities earlier this month and saw tens of thousands of protesters in attendance – for people’s relaxed attitude towards social distancing and other COVID-19 restrictions.

Australia has so far recorded more than 7,520 COVID-19 cases and 103 fatalities. (dpa/NAN)

– Jun. 24, 2020 @ 10:15 GMT |

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