In light of renewed coronavirus restrictions in Victoria, Premier Daniel Andrews has conceded the state is “at risk of a second peak,” and hopes the new social-distancing rules will help slow the spread.
Addressing media on Saturday afternoon, Premier Andrews said that while a “low level” increase of cases could be attributed to easing restrictions, the rise was concerning.
The state recently recorded an immense spike of 25 cases and Premier Andrews said he feared virus transmission was “getting away from us”.
“We are going to see more outbreaks. That is a national part of a suppression strategy. We will see low level new case numbers,” he said, speaking to media on Saturday afternoon.
“There is a concern based on data from recent days that we have more community transmission than is acceptable and if we don’t take these steps now we potentially finish up with this thing getting away from us.”
He reiterated the fast-spreading nature of COVID-19 and said that while the impact of the latest spike would not have an impact for another two to three weeks, the government had to act quickly.
“That’s how long the cycle of this virus takes. And if we were to wait and say, ‘OK, we think it’s bubbling but it’s at a reasonable level and we’ll do the popular thing’ … in three weeks time no Victorian will thank us if there is significant transmission out in the community.
“They’re not risks I’m prepared to take. This is very challenging. And you’ve got to follow the expert advice.”
From Sunday midnight, household gatherings will be restricted to a maximum of five guests, and public gatherings will have a limit of 10 people. A maximum of 20 people will be allowed in cafes and restaurants, despite earlier hopes that number would be increased to 50.
The new rules will come into place from midnight tomorrow and stay in place until midnight on July 12.
On the topic of rebuilding industries decimated by COVID-19, the Premier said that while his decision would impact businesses, a second wave would be “absolutely catastrophic” to Victoria’s economy.
“We are acutely conscious that every one of these decisions does damage but we are equally conscious that to not make these important decisions … can have enormous consequences not just in terms of safety, people’s lives, but it also risks a second wave.
“And a second wave will be absolutely catastrophic to our economy.”
“We are doing everything we possibly can, but it isn’t just us. Every family has got to do whatever they possibly can to avoid that second wave. That is our message today.”
Premier Andrews also asked Victorians to double down on maintaining social isolation in order to avoid what could be a “doubling” of cases every week.
“In a population of active cases at the moment, that’s what the numbers look like, a doubling every week. So we have to drive that down and get back to a point where we’ve got very low and potentially no transmission in the community,” he said.
“(Then) we can have the absolute confidence of easing restrictions and getting to a point where we can go about all of the activities that we have all been desperate to do for some time.”