Australian Virus Hot Spot Victoria Reports Spike in New Cases

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The Australian state of Victoria reported another spike in new coronavirus infections Saturday, raising concerns that the outbreak may be getting out of control.

The Victoria state government said 41 new cases had been detected, the biggest daily increase since early April, and 15 involved community transmission. It’s the eleventh consecutive day of double-digit numbers of infections in the state, home to the city of Melbourne.

“We’re very concerned,” Victoria Deputy Chief Health Officer Annaliese van Diemen told a news conference. “That is why we have ramped up these efforts to really, really find every possible case that we can.”

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Australia has been one of the stand-out performers globally in limiting the spread of the virus and has begun to ease restrictions, but the flare-up in Victoria could force a rethink and potentially delay the reopening of some state borders. Plans to open a travel “bubble” with neighboring New Zealand have already taken a knock as both countries grapple with incidents around virus management.

The Victorian government has increased testing and tracing and tightened some rules, reducing the number of visitors people can have in their homes to five and limiting outside gatherings to 10.

“These moves are important to keep our community safe and to ensure Covid-19 does not get away from us,” Victoria Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton said in a statement. “We do not want Victoria to suffer like many major cities around the world who have been devastated by the severe impacts of Covid-19.”

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