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Victorian surge in coronavirus cases prompts tightening of restrictions

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Victoria has scrapped plans to ease COVID-19 restrictions after a concerning double-digit rise in new cases prompted fears of a second wave.

A total of 25 new cases have been recorded in the State on Saturday, up from 13 on Friday, 18 on Thursday and 21 on Wednesday.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced the lifting of restrictions would be halted until July 12 while some would be tightened.

From midnight on Sunday night to July 12, household gatherings will be reduced to five people. 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. But that will also be put on hold until July 12.

Mr Andrews said more than half of the new cases have come from family-to-family transmission.

“It is unacceptable that families anywhere in our state can, just because they want this to be over, pretend that it is,” he said on Saturday.

On Thursday WA Premier Mark McGowan pointed to the Victoria’s spike as he defended his refusal to say when WA’s borders will reopen.

Premier of WA Mark McGowan at the opening of the Flinders Park Primary School upgrades.  Picture: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser
Premier of WA Mark McGowan at the opening of the Flinders Park Primary School upgrades. Picture: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

WA and Tasmania are the only States yet to confirm uncontrolled interstate travel would be allowed next month after Northern Territory announced it would reopen on July 17.

Mr McGoan warned if COVID-19 “comes back” to WA the economic impact would be “far more devastating”.

“All I would say to you is, you have to cautious. As the (WA) Chief Health Officer has advised … if the closing the border directions were revoked this would result in an increased risk of the reintroduction of the disease and subsequent community transmission,” he said.

Health authorities are monitoring Victoria’s rate of community transmissions, fearing the string of double-digit daily cases could be the start of a second wave of the pandemic.

It comes after Dr van Diemen yesterday said it would not cause a major issue as long as the rate did not increase in the next fortnight.

“If we have case numbers like we have had in the last couple of weeks bubbling along, that would be manageable,” she said.

“Certainly we are hoping this isn’t the beginning of a second wave and we are doing everything we absolutely can to ensure that is not the case.”

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