Australia

Authorities searching for signs new coronavirus infections are stabilising in Melbourne

Authorities are keeping a sharp eye on Melbourne’s coronavirus outbreak for signs case numbers are stabilising, as the government fears it will hinder economic recovery efforts.

Victoria was the only state on Friday to record new cases, with 66 new instances of coronavirus compared to 77 the day before.

Dozens of suburbs across Melbourne are on the third day of another month-long lockdown, with Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd saying the state was doing the right thing to test, trace and isolate.

He says Victoria’s case numbers aren’t rising substantially despite the high volume of tests being conducted.

“The figures are showing some signs of stabilisation but it is too early to confirm,” he told reporters in Canberra.

“We hope they have, given the level of testing and contact tracing under way but we need to follow up for a few more days.”

Professor Kidd is concerned people are refusing coronavirus tests, with more than 10,000 people in Victoria declining one.

The state’s health minister Jenny Mikakos says some people are refusing tests because they believe the virus is a conspiracy theory or that it won’t impact them.

Senior cabinet minister Simon Birmingham vowed to put partisan politics aside to work with the Victorian Labor government on squashing the disease.

“We have a situation in Victoria that is threatening the economic recovery that is so important for all of us,” he told Sky News.

Victoria’s government is under pressure after serious breaches were alleged in hotel quarantine and a coronavirus-infected man left his two-week stint without being tested.

NSW recorded no new cases on Friday after eight on Thursday, including a supermarket worker who tested positive after spending two weeks in Melbourne hotel quarantine.

Visitors to the ACT from Melbourne hot spots will be forced to self-isolate for 14 days or return home immediately.

South Australia is maintaining its border restrictions with NSW, the ACT and Victoria, as health authorities closely monitor the situation in Melbourne.

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 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.

SBS is committed to informing Australia’s diverse communities about the latest COVID-19 developments. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus

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