Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd has described the growing number of coronavirus cases in Victoria as concerning but praised the state government’s handling of the outbreak.
Victoria has recorded double-digit increases in new COVID-19 infections for 12 days running, culminating in 90 new cases over the weekend.
There were 41 new cases on Saturday and 49 on Sunday, the highest daily number for the state since April 2. The majority were locally acquired.
The latest figures contrast with Western Australia, which had one new case and NSW with three – all people returning from overseas.
Queensland and South Australia had no new cases.
Professor Kidd said the growing number of cases in the Victoria was “of genuine concern” but maintained the commonwealth government fully supported the way the outbreak is being handled.
“This is not a second wave,” he told reporters in Canberra on Sunday.
“What we’re seeing in Victoria is exactly what was planned when we have outbreaks occurring across the country.”
The Victorian government is conducting a testing blitz in an attempt to prevent further spread of the virus, which prioritised the suburbs of Broadmeadows and Keilor Downs at the weekend. About 40,000 people have been tested since Friday.
Eight other suburbs in Melbourne’s west and southeast are next on the list, also identified as having high levels of community transmission.
The government is also imposing mandatory testing on returned overseas travellers in hotel quarantine after it was revealed about 30 per cent were refusing to be tested.
Less-invasive saliva tests are also being rolled out.
Professor Kidd said authorities are keenly watching to see how they work out.
“The salvia test may be more appropriate for people where swabs are more difficult and that might include young children or very elderly people,” he said.
He also issued a reminder to all Australians that vigilance, particularly among younger people, is needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Many of the people who have been infected so far in the outbreaks in Melbourne are, well, young people, often with only mild symptoms,” Professor Kidd said.
“You may not get sick or very sick … but if you pass the infection onto your parents or your grandparents they could become very unwell, they could even die.”