Victoria has recorded a new worrying increase of coronavirus cases with 19 new positive tests recorded.
Health Minister Jenny Mikakos on Sunday announced the state’s infectious total has reached 1836 cases, of which 121 remain active.
The 19 new cases reported on Sunday follow rises of 25, 13, 18 and 21 cases over the previous four days.
The concerning rise in coronavirus cases has led the government to extend the state of emergency four more weeks until July 19.
“It is still a very serious situation,” Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said on Sunday.
“We have had particularly some concerns around family gatherings, extended family members across many households, visiting each other even when they have been exhibiting mild symptoms” and very concerning low, even going to work when they had mild symptoms. The persistent rise of COVID-19 cases in Victoria means people must once again cancel social plans and struggling businesses must wait.
Ms Mikakos said Victorian Police will be enforcing those legal directions that will be issued, that will commence from 11.59 tonight.
The state’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said there was “fatigue” around lockdown.
“This is a tipping point and we need to bear that in mind. Victoria could get to a point where we don’t have to worry about this. If we can drive transmission down to a point where we can get back to a substantially normal existence. We have to held the reins, this month especially this month and next month, and see where we are at from there.”
The virus spike came after it was revealed students at four Victorian schools will be forced to attend classes remotely on Monday after being exposed to coronavirus.
Two teachers and one student were revealed to be infected at three separate schools on Saturday, the state’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said, while a student at a fourth school was added to the list overnight.
The concerning spike has prompted Premier Daniel Andrews to extend the state of emergency for another four weeks, until July 12.
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The infected teachers work at Albanvale Primary School in Melbourne’s western suburbs and Springside Primary School in Caroline Springs.
A student at Camberwell Grammar in the eastern suburbs also tested positive, with parents being told to keep their children at home until further notice.
Infections at the three schools were announced during the Department of Health and Human Services’ daily update on Saturday, while the fourth school, St Mary’s Primary School in Hampton, issued a letter to parents, according to 7News.
The school said it would be closed from Monday until Wednesday for deep cleaning.
The DHHS said it will conduct contact tracing on those confirmed to have been infected.
“We have made some great progress in slowing the spread of coronavirus, but we are still seeing transmission in households and other settings,” Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton said.
“We’ve had more than 100 new cases in the past seven days and the main cause for this increase has been through cases in families – where people have not followed our advice around physical distancing, hygiene and limiting the number of people you invite into your home.”
Victoria’s case numbers are now the highest they’ve been in more than two months after four days of double-digit growth.
Victoria’s spike in coronavirus cases has delayed the easing of restrictions planned over the next few weeks, including the return of full interstate travel, with other states wary of reopening their borders.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced the return to restrictions within his state after 25 new cases were recorded on Saturday.
From midnight on Sunday to July 12, Victorians will only be able to have five people at their homes.
Outdoor gatherings will be restricted to 10. Cafes, restaurants and pubs had been set to be allowed 50 patrons at one time on Monday, up from 20 currently.
That will also be put on hold until July 12.
However, gyms, cinemas, indoor sports centres and concert venues will still be allowed to reopen — but with a 20-person limit.
More than half of the new Victorian cases since the end of April have come from family members spreading it to their relatives.
Western Australia’s government has maintained its hard line border closure will remain for as long as there is sustained community spread of the virus in the eastern states.
Premier Mark McGowan has refused to put a date on welcoming interstate visitors and is likely to further ease restrictions within WA before opening the border.
South Australia is due to reopen on July 20 but its government is closely monitoring the situation in Victoria and has not ruled out staying closed.
“We will not open our borders to Victoria unless it is safe to do so,” Health Minister Stephen Wade said on Saturday.
“Our number one priority is the health of South Australians.”
— with AAP
Originally published as Another big spike in virus cases