Victoria faces a big fight against COVID-19. The state has recorded 484 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours. This is up from 374 cases recorded in the previous 24 hours.
Premier Daniel Andrews also announced that two men in their 90s, former residents of aged-care homes, had died overnight. Victoria’s COVID-19 death toll now stands at 44, while the national death is now 128.
As the state authorities are struggling to contain normal community transmissions, six major Victorian prisons have also been sent into lockdown. This is on the back of a positive test for a prison officer involved in inmate transfers at Ravenhall Prison. That has triggered the lockdown of over 3,900 inmates across the state in prisons based in Melbourne, Ararat, Ballarat, Sale, Geelong and Castlemaine.
This incident is the third serious COVID-19 breach in the justice system in the last week. Earlier a prisoner who had tested positive for COVID-19 was moved from the Metropolitan Assessment Centre (MAP) to Metropolitan Remand Centre (MRC) whilst awaiting a test results. Also a youth justice educational coordinator working between the metropolitan Parkville and regional Malmsbury Youth Justice Centres had tested positive.
“Victoria is not in this position because of bad luck, we are in this position due to bad decisions around hotel quarantine and failures to follow up clusters by the Andrews Labor Government”, Shadow Minister for Corrections, David Southwick said.
“If Daniel Andrews can’t even keep prisons free of COVID-19, what chance does he have of keeping the community safe?” Mr Southwick asked.
Talking about the highest number 484 so far and increasing infection of COVID-19 via community transmission, a worried Premier lamented that huge numbers of Victorians were ignoring health orders. The data shows 90 per cent of people tested between July 7-21 did not self-isolate between the time they first felt sick and having the test.
More than 50% chose not to self-isolate while waiting for their test results.
“People who have symptoms, enough symptoms to go and get a test, which is great – that’s exactly what we want,” the Premier said.
“The mere phrase ‘waiting for your test result’ means just that. You should be waiting for the result, not continuing on as if you hadn’t had a test or didn’t have any symptoms. It’s very simple.”
The premier emphasised that self-isolation was the only option until test results came back.
In light of the new highest number, 484 new cases, both the Premier and Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton exhorted the Victorian community to observe the best practices of strict hygiene, social distancing and quarantining and wearing a mask or covering when leaving home for a valid reason.