Victoria will test 100,000 residents in Melbourne’s coronavirus hotspots over the next ten days in a desperate attempt to control a second spike in infections.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced 33 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday and declared there would be ‘a suburban testing blitz’ for the outbreak in suburban Melbourne over the coming days.
Of Victoria’s new coronavirus cases, there were seven in return travellers, nine linked to known outbreaks, six from routine testing and 11 under investigation.
‘First things first, we are about to embark – in fact, we’ve already begun, it began early this morning – a suburban testing blitz,’ Mr Andrews said.
‘Broadmeadows and Keilor Downs, those two suburbs, with the highest number of community transmission cases, we will test 50 per cent of those suburbs over the next three days.’
A woman gives directions to drivers at a drive-thru COVID-19 testing facility in Chadstone, Melbourne, on Thursday (pictured)
Pictured: Drivers queue up for a COVID-19 test in Chadstone, Melbourne, on Thursday (pictured)
Premier Daniel Andrews (pictured on Thusday) declared there would be ‘a suburban testing blitz’ for the outbreak in suburban Melbourne over the coming days
VICTORIA’S SPIKE IN CORONAVIRUS CASES
Source: Department of Health and Human Services
Mr Andrews said a ‘thousand-strong’ team would doorknock and speak to the local community to encourage them to get a free coronavirus test.
‘Those two worst-affected suburbs, we have right now, and will have over the next three days, 50 per cent of those suburbs tested,’ he said.
‘That is about 5,000 tests per suburb, as well as, of course, each and every door that we knock on, each and every resident that we speak to, we’re able to reinforce very simple but very important messaging.
‘If you’re sick, get tested. If you’re sick, you cannot go to work.’
Broadmeadows is in the local government area of Hume, while Keilor Downs is part of Brimbank.
Victoria has identified six COVID-19 hotspots in the local government areas of Hume, Casey, Brimbank, Moreland, Cardinia and Darebin.
Mr Andrews said there are ten suburbs where authorities are planning to test 50 per cent of residents.
The next three days will focus on Keilor Downs and Broadmeadows, before targeting Maidstone, Albanvale, Sunshine West, Hallam, Brunswick West, Fawkner, Reservoir and Pakenham.
Australians have been warned to stay away from six council in Melbourne: Hume, Casey and Brimbank, Moreland, Cardinia and Darebin (pictured)
COVID-19 testing staff are seen at a pop-up site at Keilor Community Hub on Wednesday (pictured)
Mr Andrews said the ten suburbs face ‘a community transmission challenge’.
‘We will move to the balance of those suburbs over the course of a ten-day period. That is about 100,000 tests,’ he said.
‘It may finish up being more than that.’
There will be a total of 135 testing centres set-up to get Victorians tested.
More than 1,000 Australian Defence Force troops are being deployed to Victoria to help fight the growing coronavirus problem.
Mr Andrews said the ADF support would be ‘critical’ at the Melbourne Showgrounds testing site, where thousands of tests will be conducted.
‘I’ve asked the prime minister – and I’m very grateful that he’s agreed – to provide ADF support in a number of areas,’ he said on Wednesday.
‘Firstly, medical teams to support with those big, really big testing sites. Some other transportation support, particularly getting people from the airport to hotel quarantine.’
A health worker conducts a coronavirus test in Chadstone, Melbourne, on Thursday (pictured)
Mr Andrews (pictured on Thursday) said ten suburbs face ‘a community transmission challenge’
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 7,557
New South Wales: 3,162
Western Australia: 607
South Australia: 440
Australian Capital Territory: 108
Northern Territory: 29
TOTAL CASES: 7,557
Victoria’s latest COVID-19 figures come after 20 positive tests and an additional death were recorded on Wednesday.
A man in his 80s became the 20th person to die from COVID-19 in Victoria on Tuesday night.
The nation’s death toll climbed to 104 on Thursday, after a Sydney man’s death was reclassified by NSW Health.
The 85-year-old man was a resident at the Opal aged care facility in Bankstown where there was a small outbreak.
NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said the man’s death has been reclassified after his doctor diagnosed COVID-19 as a contributing factor.
He was diagnosed with COVID-19 on April 7 and died on April 27, after two negative swabs were recorded.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said four new positive cases had emerged as of 8pm on Wednesday, including a seven-year-old from Lane Cove West Public School, who developed symptoms on Saturday.
Victoria recorded an additional 33 cases of coronavirus on Thursday and NSW reported another death
COVID-19 testing staff are seen at a pop-up site at Keilor Community Hub in Melbourne’s west on Wednesday (pictured
He echoed calls from his state government colleagues, urging NSW residents not to visit Melbourne.
‘I think Victoria New South Wales have been in this together. We have worked very hard on these issues,’ he said.
‘But just for the moment it’s clear that, and in the foreseeable future, it would be helpful if New South Wales residents were not travelling to the hotspots of Melbourne, not travelling to Melbourne if you can avoid it.
‘Normally we welcome our Victorian cousins into New South Wales, very happy to have them.
‘Right now I have to see I am asking Victorians, particular those from the hotspots in Melbourne, to not come into regional New South Wales and not come to Sydney.’
Victoria’s spike in cases has led to the return in panic buying, with Coles and Woolworths reinstating purchase limits toilet paper (pictured, Woolworths at Werribee Pacific)
A shopper leaves a Costco outlet with a trolley full of toilet paper on Wednesday (pictured) in Melburne
Victoria’s spike in cases has led to the return in panic buying, with Coles and Woolworths reinstating purchase limits on items like toilet paper.
On Tuesday, tensions were on the rise in COVID-19 hotspots from Melbourne’s west to east.
Residents could soon face mandatory lockdown in the six local government districts, Victorian health minister Jenny Mikakos warned.
At Brimbank Shopping Centre in the city’s north-west some worried shoppers were already stocking up on toilet paper, which had been stripped from supermarket shelves during panic-buying frenzies just months earlier.
One Brimbank resident told Daily Mail Australia he had heard about people stockpiling again on morning radio and had come down to the shops to grab some rolls before they vanished.
Reports spread quickly that a local shopping centre within the same municipality had already run out of the product.
‘I’m not getting caught out again,’ the man said.