Virus Cases Surge by 75 in Australia’s Hotspot State Victoria

The Australian state of Victoria has recorded 75 more coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, health authorities announced on Monday, leading to increased concern the nation may be on the cusp of a second wave of cases as it removes lockdown restrictions that have crippled the economy.

The surge in cases in Melbourne, the capital of Australia’s second-most-populous state, have been centered around suburbs in the city’s northern and western fringes. Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews, who has indicated that some of those areas may need to return to stricter lockdown measures, has blamed some clusters on large family gatherings that have broken social-distancing restrictions.

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“Many of the cases that have come through today are overwhelmingly concentrated in those priority suburbs,” state Health Minister Jenny Mikakos told reporters in Melbourne on Monday. “It’s important to reiterate to the community that you are not immune from catching coronavirus by virtue of the postcode that you live in.”

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With neighboring New South Wales recording 7 new cases in the period, the outbreaks in Victoria means Australia has posted its highest daily total since 89 on April 11. It’s the state’s 14th consecutive day of double-digit growth in new cases.

Australia has been one of the stand-out performers globally in limiting the spread of the virus, but the flare-up in Victoria is raising concerns about a second wave that could potentially set back the lifting of some restrictions and slow the nation’s economic recovery. 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 overnight tally included 4 indeterminate cases that have been reclassified as positive. Of the remainder, 37 were detected through routine testing, 23 are still under investigation, 14 were linked to previously discovered outbreaks, and 1 case is a returned overseas travelers in mandatory hotel quarantine.

Victoria Chief Medical Officer Brett Sutton told reporters in Melbourne on Monday that the state may need to consider further lockdown restrictions.

“I think it will get worse before it gets better,” Sutton said. “It is a concerning number.”

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