NSW Sweats on Virus, Victorian Cases Down

By AAP
October 14, 2020 Updated: October 15, 2020

Pressure is mounting on the Victorian government to lift virus restrictions as concern grows in NSW about rising infection rates.

Melbourne’s 14-day rolling average fell to 8.9 on Oct. 15 after just six new cases were detected statewide.

After months of severe lockdown, Melburnians are anxiously awaiting an announcement on Oct. 18 about what freedoms they could regain.

Health authorities in NSW are on high alert after 11 locally acquired coronavirus cases on Oct. 15 sparked fears the disease may spread further.

With NSW’s daily increase higher than Victoria for two consecutive days, a concerned Premier Gladys Berejiklian has hit the brakes on further easing restrictions.

“Our state is on the verge of being where it was when we had the first seeding incident from Victoria,” she told reporters in Sydney.

The infection rise has been likened to the Crossroads Hotel outbreak which spread to more than 60 people.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is facing calls to lift restrictions despite the state being slightly behind on its benchmark for the next step of reopening.

He has acknowledged the pain caused by lockdowns may eventually outweigh the benefits of crushing the virus.

“At some point, the cost of the restrictions will be greater than the increased risk,” Andrews said.

“The increased challenge for our public health team is to keep the virus suppressed if we open earlier than we had planned.”

Senior Morrison government ministers have piled pressure on the premier, urging him to restore freedoms.

There are also concerns about a potential regional Victorian outbreak after cases were picked up in Shepparton, triggering a massive testing blitz.

A truckie, who had a work permit, didn’t tell contact tracers he had stopped in the town and has been referred to police over the breach.

West Australian Premier Mark McGowan’s hardline border stance is under fresh scrutiny after the state’s chief health officer contradicted him.

Andy Robertson told a parliamentary committee he was open to travel bubbles with other jurisdictions that notched 28 days without community spread.

McGowan insists the strict travel bans are based on health advice, while state and federal budgets assume the premier won’t back down until at least April.

South Australia has made accommodation vouchers available for residents to boost tourism across the state.

The vouchers offer $100 off accommodation in Adelaide and a $50 discount in regional centres.

By Matt Coughlan