Melbourne: Mandatory masking, no visits to anyone’s homes as deaths rise

    Melbourne – Covid-19 has returned with a vengeance to this Victoria city of nearly 5 million people.

    723 new cases have been announced in the city and vicinity with a number of infections and deaths in old folks care homes where it’s likely to cause more fatalities.

    Australia was praised globally for controlling the pandemic peak.

    But it’s now one of the area being revisited by the virus that causes Covid-19.

    Hong Kong is also struggling to contain what’s described as a third peak.

    Premier Dan Andrews has ordered mandatory masking when people leave their homes. And ordered an end to visits to homes of family and friends.

    Victoria reported total of 9,998 cases on Thursday.

    • There are 1,698 cases that may indicate community transmission, an increase of 280 since yesterday’s report.

    • 312 people are in hospital, including 34 patients in intensive care.

    • There have been 13 new deaths reported since yesterday. To date, 105 people have died from coronavirus (COVID-19) in Victoria. Almost all of these new deaths are in seniors.

    • There are 5,385 cases currently active in Victoria. 4,259 people have recovered.

    • More than 1,574,600 test results have been processed by the department since 1 January 2020.

    “Today is not a good day.,” said Andrews.

    “And as the numbers show, this virus does not discriminate,” he added. “It rips through workplaces, sweeps through aged care settings, cuts through communities – and tragically, takes lives with it as it goes.”

    “Most of today’s cases are in metro areas. But we have seen a significant jump in regional communities. It’s vital we stop this virus further seeping into regional Victoria.”

    “Last week, and based on the latest in scientific study, we announced that face coverings would be mandatory in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire.

    “Today, and in line with the advice of the Chief Health Officer, I can announce that same requirement will apply across regional Victoria.”

    “That means from Sunday 2 August at 11:59pm, a face covering will be mandatory whenever you leave home – and wherever you live.”

    “By covering your face, you’re keeping local businesses open, and keeping local people in work.”

    “There are, unfortunately, other changes we need to make.

    “To date, new cases in regional communities have largely been contained to workplaces. Increasingly though, in some locations, we’re seeing a different kind of spread.”

    “That’s why, from 11:59pm tonight, and in the local government areas of Colac-Otway, Greater Geelong, Surf Coast, Moorabool, Golden Plains, and the Borough of Queenscliffe, you will no longer be able to visit people or have visitors at home.

    “Understandably, there’ll be plenty of questions about why this and not that. Why you can have dinner together at a restaurant – but not at a mate’s place.

    “And the simple truth is, the data. The data is telling us that outside work, this is the single greatest cause of transmission in these communities.”

    “People are visiting friends and family – and taking the virus home with them.”

    “It makes sense. These are the kind of places we let our guard down. We relax, we get comfortable and we forget all the rules about keeping safe.”

    “By not seeing your mate, you might be saving their life.

    “By not hugging your mum, you might be keeping her alive.

    And by covering your face, you’re contributing to the safety of every single Victorian.