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More than 1,000,000 people face local lockdowns as Melbourne takes turn for worst

australia coronavirus melbourne
A man in his 80s died overnight after testing positive for coronavirus, the country’s first Covid-19 death in one month (Picture: Getty Images)

More than a million Australians could soon face harsher lockdown restrictions after Victoria recorded a spike in coronavirus infections.

A man in his 80s died overnight after testing positive for Covid-19 in Victoria, the country’s first coronavirus death in a month.

Twenty new cases were announced on Wednesday, with the state reporting double-digit rises every day for more than a week now.

There are now 241 cases that have been identified since the epidemic began in Victoria that indicate community transmission.

The government’s target reproduction rate is below one, but health minister Jenny Mikakos has warned that those infected are now passing it on to an average of 2.5 people each.

Victoria’s chief health officer, Dr Brett Sutton said the community transmission rate of eight since yesterday was ‘somewhat encouraging’ as it had been ‘around 10 every day’.

However, a rise in the number of cases could see people in Melbourne face local district lockdowns, Ms Mikakos said on Tuesday.

This includes six areas – Hume, Brimbank, Casey, Cardinia Moreland and Darebin.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Speed Media/REX (10687276b) Medical personnel test locals at the Pacific Epping Shopping Centre Mobile Testing Site Victorians present at Mobile testing Site as Coronavirus infections spike in the state over the weekend as restrictions are being tightened in Victoria during COVID 19 on 22 June, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. After a concerning spike in Coronavirus cases over the weekend in Victoria, Premier Daniel Andrews announced on the 20th June that he would re-impose restrictions in the home, reducing the number of visitors from 10 to 5, and delay the increase in the number of patrons in pubs, cafes and restaurants from 20 to 50. The Victorian Government has also extended its State of Emergency for another four weeks giving police unprecedented powers. Government rhetoric and media alarmism has injected a new wave of fear into the public as people line up for blocks to get tested at the mobile testing sites. Coronavirus Testing as cases spike across Victoria, Melbourne CBD, Melbourne, Australia - 22 Jun 2020
Medical personnel test locals at the Pacific Epping Shopping Centre Mobile Testing Site (Picture: Speed Media/REX)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 23: Cleaning crews work to deep clean Keilor Views Primary School on June 23, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. Two primary schools in Melbourne were closed on Tuesday after students tested positive for COVID-19. Brunswick East Primary School and Keilor Views Primary School will remain closed for at least three days for contact tracing and cleaning. Both schools are in local government areas identified as Melbourne coronavirus hotspots, with the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee urging people to avoid travelling in or out of Hume, Brimbank, Darebin, Moreland, Casey and Cardinia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)
Cleaning crews work to deep clean Keilor Views Primary School on June 23, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia (Picture: Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 22: Victorian Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos speaks to the media on June 22, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. Premier Daniel Andrews has extended Victoria's state of emergency for at least four weeks to allow police the power to enforce social distancing rules in response to a spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state. Restrictions had been set to ease further from Monday, but will now be tightened, with the number of visitors allowed in a home now reduced to five while outside gatherings are reduced to 10 people. Restaurants, cafes, pubs, libraries, museums and places of worship are allowed to remain open for a maximum of 20 people in once place. Gyms, cinemas, theatres and TABs are permitted to reopen from Monday, but with a maximum of 20 people. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)
Victorian Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos speaks to the media on June 22, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia (Picture: Getty Images)

New cases in Melbourne include three linked to a family in Keilor Downs in the city’s north-west, others linked to a family in Hallam in the south-eastern suburbs and outbreaks at two quarantine hotels.

Three staff members from Hampstead Dental in Maidstone in Melbourne’s west have also tested positive, while one new case is connected with a case at St Monica’s College Epping in north Melbourne.

Ms Mikakos said mandatory isolation in specific suburbs could be an option to control the outbreak.

She said: ‘In the legal directions that have come in, we have not issued stay-at-home directions for those hotspot areas, but of course we don’t rule anything out.’

New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian has warned people to avoid coronavirus hotspots in Victoria and not travel to Melbourne unless it is absolutely essential.

She said earlier this week she would not close the border with Victoria, but named the surge in infections a ‘wake-up call’.

Australia’s chief medical officer Brendan Murphy has stated there is ‘no official definition’ of a second coronavirus wave.

However, he added that it is a concept where ‘you don’t think the public health measures can easily control it in the short term’ and he had ‘great confidence’ in the Victoria response.

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