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Coronavirus: Are Australia’s numbers at risk of escalating?

Ns News Online Desk:Ns News Online Desk: Australia has been hailed as a global success story in suppressing the spread of Covid-19.

The virus did not take hold as feared because of quick shutdown measures, including border closures and the mandatory quarantine of travelers.

Australia has reported just over 7,400 cases, far fewer than many nations. It has seen 102 deaths – the last was a month ago.

Since May, the country has entered a phased exit from lock down restrictions as the curve flattened.

But in the last week there’s been a rise in cases in Victoria, mostly in the state capital Melbourne. Concern has crept back into public conversation: Is this a small setback, or could it be something more sustained?
What’s happened in Victoria?

On 13 June, Australia’s chief medical officer Dr Brendan Murphy noted that community transmission appeared to only be present in Victoria, the second-most populous state.

He said the virus had been effectively eliminated in many parts of the country. Even the most populous state, New South Wales (NSW), which includes Sydney, had not reported a local transmission in weeks. That remains the case.But Victoria’s situation has worsened since then – an average 18 new infections were reported each day last week. About half are thought to involve clusters, particularly transmissions between family members and quarantine staff.

Prof Brett Sutton, Victoria’s chief health officer, said the state had seen “very low” levels of community transmission since February, but this was now “re-emerging because people are not doing things as stringently as they might have done a month, two months ago.”
How bad are the numbers?

This is the greatest increase Australia has seen in two months, but it remains well short of the peak in March. There are now over 100 active cases in Victoria, mainly contracted in the past fortnight. But in late March there were over 100 new cases being reported every day. At that time, several hundred people with the virus were in hospital across the country, and daily infections were climbing by about 25%.

On Monday, that rate was at 0.4% and there were nine people being treated in Victoria’s well-prepared hospitals. Testing is also rigorous, widespread and accessible to anyone with even mild symptoms.

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