Aussie virus rate highest in six weeks
The spike in coronavirus cases in Victoria has pushed Australia's number of new cases per day to its highest level in more than six weeks.
The state announced another day of double digit COVID-19 infections, with Premier Daniel Andrews declaring this morning the pandemic "is not over".
"There are 1864 cases of coronavirus. That's 17 more than yesterday," he told reporters.
"As we said on Saturday, and indeed again yesterday, this is still with us. This is not over. And I know and understand that so many Victorians, perhaps all Victorians, want this to be over. But we simply can't pretend that the virus is gone. That the virus is somehow not in our state.
"It is here. It travels so fast. It is so infectious. That's the battle we're in."
Nationally, the number of new confirmed cases has reached 20 a day, based on the seven-day average. In Victoria, the figure has shot up five-fold over 12 days, from three new cases a day on June 10 to 17 a day on June 22.
The last time cases reached an average of 20 a day was May 10, when New South Wales and Western Australia joined Tasmania, South Australia and Queensland in announcing the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions.
In the past three days alone, community transmission in Victoria has soared by 30 cases, the biggest jump recorded since the peak of the pandemic in April. Mr Andrews said this morning of today's new cases, 11 remain under investigation, "so what we can be certain of is that there will be some significant community transmission within those numbers".
While Australia is poised to move into its third stage of coming out of lockdown mid-July, both federal Health Minister Greg Hunt and Mr Andrews have suggested restrictions could be tightened in Victoria once more, and other state leaders have warned they won't reopen their borders until Victoria is no longer considered a risk.
"I do think that there are perhaps larger numbers of Victorians who perhaps think that this is a new phase and we can do things a little differently," Mr Andrews said.
"It doesn't matter how many people are doing the wrong thing - everybody, everybody will pay the price if we get to a point where restrictions, either localised or across the state, need to be reintroduced."
Melbourne University's Professor James McCaw, who sits on the national health advisory committee for coronavirus, told ABC's 7.30 last night studies showed a staggering number of Australians were no longer taking precautions against the virus.
"We've been conducting surveys with the government over the last many months which indicates that somewhere around three quarters of the population are starting to no longer realise that they need to be aware of the risks, and that's a cause for concern," Prof McCaw said.
Originally published as Aussie virus rate highest in six weeks