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Coronavirus update: Six dead in Victoria as coronavirus cases surge and ADF called in

- July 24, 2020 3 MIN READ
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Victorian has reported 300 new diagnoses of COVID-19 overnight taking the state’s active total to 3734 cases. Sadly, six Victorians also lost their battle with the virus – three people in their 90s and three in their 80s passed away last night.

All of the cases are connected to aged care facilities. This takes the total number of deaths related to COVID-19 in Victoria to 55. Premier Daniel Andrews sent his condolences to the families of the victims.

Of the 300 new case, 51 of those are connected to known and contained outbreaks, 249 of those are under investigation by a public health team. There are 206 Victorians in hospital, 41 of those are receiving intensive care.

The premier reported the state conducted 24,118 tests yesterday.

“I’m grateful to everyone coming forward to get tested. Getting tested is very powerful – but staying at home while you wait for results is most important.”

The premier praised the majority of Victorians for doing the right thing but said the state would be ramping up its efforts to ensure people abided by restrictions.

In keeping with this, he outlined the new role the Australian Defence Force (ADF)will have in assisting with enforcement and contact tracing.

“This new partnership with Australian Defence Force will see in excess of 1400 ADF personnel on the ground,” Andrews said.

According to Andrews, ADF personnel will be employed in an innovative and unique way to help bridge any lag in contact tracing. The premier said currently every possible means are being taken to trace contacts within 24 hours. Initial phone calls are followed up and interviews are set with those who have tested positive to begin contact tracing. However, Andrews said this is not always possible in a timely fashion, as sometimes people don’t answer their phones or on occasion refuse to answer interview requests. Andrews said by deploying ADF teams on the ground, this will no longer be the case.

“If contact cannot be made with [positive cases] via those two telephone calls within a two-hour period, then ADF and authorised officers will be deployed to go and doorknock those people and to conduct that interview on their doorstep, as opposed to doing it over the phone.”

“This will mean that each 24-hour period, we will have taken those extra steps and made that extra effort in order to make sure that we are contacting each and every one of those positive cases.

“It’s about going that extra step have that meaningful interaction and beginning the process of tracing contact,”

Andrews said if you are doorknocked and not found at home you will be found in breach and you will be fined.

“You will have clear explaining to do if you are not isolating when you have tested positive,” he said.

The premier said members of Melbourne and Mitchell shire will definitely see more and more ADF presence on the ground over coming days.

In regards to today’s case numbers, the premier said he notes that it is lower than yesterday but said that it still too early to have any definitive commentary on how the lockdown is impacting community transmission.

He said he is encouraged to see so many people across Melbourne wearing masks.

“Masks can and are playing a big part in stopping community transmission. I am encouraged to see so many people across Melbourne wearing masks. I want to thank you for that. It is not always easy but it is a very important way, medical advice tells us, [to stop the spread].

“If we follow the rules, if we do the right thing, if we make the powerful contributions, large and small — it is often very simple things can make a big difference to the spread of the virus,” Andrews said,

The premier said he was disappointed some people continue to flout the rules and said the police would be focused on catching those who aren’t doing the right thing.

Yesterday police issued 101 on-the-spot fines and 63 warnings to Victorians who had decided they didn’t want to abide by the COVID-19 regulations.

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