Victoria has recorded a double-digit increase in another blow to the state as panic over its virus spike returns, with 17 new cases of COVID-19.
The surge in numbers has resulted in the closing of two primary schools and a childcare centre in Melbourne.
State Premier Daniel Andrews said there was “significant community transmission” among the new cases.
Andrews said one of the new cases was from a person in hotel quarantine, two were from known outbreaks, three were from routine testing and 11 were under investigation.
“What we can be certain of is that there will be some significant community transmission within those numbers,” Mr Andrews said.
“We simply can’t pretend that the virus is gone, that the virus is somehow not in our state. It’s here, it travels so fast, it is so infectious.”
Two schools have been closed for thorough cleaning after students from both schools tested positive for the coronavirus. Keilor Views Primary School and Brunswick East Primary School will be closed for three days.
Villa Bambini Early Learning Centre, in Essendon, has been named as the childcare centre closed due to the outbreak.
“They’ll be the subject of deep clean and the contact tracing that our 1,000 strong coronavirus detective squad is engaged in,” Andrews said.
The suburbs where the schools are located are two of six local government hot spots in recent weeks.
Its six current COVID-19 hot spots are the local government areas of `Hume, Casey, Brimbank, Moreland, Cardinia and Darebin.
Residents of those hot spots should not be moving around the community, the premier said on Tuesday.
Victorians are rushing out in droves to get tested for COVID-19 as the number of cases across the state continues to rise.
The sudden increase in demand has caused some testing facilities to be overwhelmed, leaving people waiting up to four hours for a test in some areas.
Andrews apologised for testing delays but said he was “proud” of the people coming forward to be tested.
“I apologise for any delays. In the circumstance it will be inevitable, there will be some waiting,” he said.
“I’m always pleased to see large numbers of people coming forward and getting tested. It makes you proud seriously, the notion that people would give their time like that.”
Andrews said large family gatherings had been the catalyst for the virus taking off again in some areas after lockdown rules were eased.
“We have seen many families, large families, that have gathered in numbers beyond the rules,” he said.
“I know and understand that all Victorians want this to be over but we simply can’t pretend the virus is gone.”
In Canberra, Health Minister Greg Hunt says Australia’s borders will remain closed for “a very significant” amount of time. Hunt says coronavirus infection rates were accelerating around the world.
“For the time being we are an island sanctuary,” he told ABC radio.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian bluntly warned families and business travellers planning trips to Melbourne “don’t go there” as cases spike.
In an extraordinary warning, she also urged holiday resorts to reject school holiday bookings from families from hot spot Victorian suburbs, describing the option as “basic pandemic management”.
“You should not be travelling to Melbourne at this time because of the rate of community transmission,’’ she said.
“I call on all organisations not to interact with citizens from Melbourne at this stage,” Ms Berejiklian told reporters.
“Have activity elsewhere and I note a number of organisations have already taken on that advice.
“And as for resorts and other locations in NSW, they are at liberty to accept or reject any traveller.”
NSW recorded just one COVID-19 case – in a returned traveller in hotel quarantine – in the 24 hours to 8pm on Monday from more than 8000 tests. Some 3150 COVID-19 cases have been reported in NSW to date, with none in intensive care.
Ms Berejiklian again encouraged NSW residents to seek testing if they felt unwell.
“When back in March we had cases in excess of 200 (per day) in NSW, all of our borders remained open, and we’ve seen as the number of cases have reduced the ability of our health system to cope with reducing the spread,” Ms Berejiklian told reporters on Tuesday.
“As the NSW government and Victorian governments have both said, you should not be moving around the community if you live in one of those hot spots in Melbourne.
“If you are someone in NSW, you should not be going to any of those hot spots, full stop … (and) you should not be travelling to Melbourne at this time.”
There have been 102 deaths due to COVID-19 in Australia and more than 7,400 infected.
The number of coronavirus infections around the world has exceeded nine million.