The Victorian coronavirus spike continues to trouble its neighbours, with a Melbourne man testing positive in New South Wales and South Australia deploying the military to help guard its border.
The southern state recorded 216 new cases on July 11—a sixth consecutive day of triple-digit rises—and brought the national death toll to 107 after a man in his 90s died.
Community transmission is a major concern with outbreaks in public housing towers and a large school in Melbourne’s west driving a second surge in infections.
“If you’ve been in Victoria in the last couple of weeks, don’t mix with other people until two weeks have passed,” NSW Health Minister Jeremy McAnulty said on Saturday.
One of seven new infections in NSW was a male in his 20s from Melbourne, who had towed his caravan up from Victoria on July 7.
South Australia does not have any active infections and has asked Defence Force personnel to help enforce its hard border closure with Victoria.
Soldiers will be stationed at Berri and Mount Gambier from Sunday, helping police ensure anyone coming across has essential traveller status or other exemptions.
An Adelaide hostel was on Friday fined $5,060 (US$3,517) for failing to safely house four travellers from Victoria whose test results are still not known, while a truck driver in Bordertown is in quarantine after contact with two confirmed NSW cases.
The number of confirmed cases across the country now stands at more than 9,580, with two more cases in Queensland and two in Western Australia.
The cases in the two states and five of the NSW infections are returned travellers in hotel quarantine.
The Therapeutic Goods Administration has given provisional approval in Australia for the drug Remdesivir, which can improve the recovery time of the illest COVID-19 patients.
The U.S.-made intravenous drug is the most promising treatment so far to reduce hospitalisation time for those with severe coronavirus infections, the TGA said.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth said the TGA approval was significant but warned it was no “silver bullet”.
He said a vaccine may not be available for up to two years.
In Victoria, Premier Daniel Andrews said the latest lockdown of metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire needed people’s full compliance.
“What I’m asking Victorians to do is not to spend time trying to find ways to get around the rules but instead to follow them,” Andrews said.
Victorians have been noticeably heeding advice to wear face masks when out in public, he said.
Andrews said he had accepted all offers of support from Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
The federal government is halving international flight arrivals to ease pressure on hotel quarantine systems and returning Australians will be made to pay for their two-week stay in hotel quarantine.
By Andi Yu