Australia Coronavirus: 'Second Wave' Possible As Health Committee Names 6 New Hotspots

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Coronavirus COVID-19 Australia Airport
French nationals queue to enter Sydney's international airport to be repatriated back to France on April 2, 2020, amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. - The French government has chartered three Airbus A380 aircraft flown by Qatar Airways to repatriate mostly French nationals wanting to return home from Australia due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one from Perth which left March 31, one today from Sydney and a third from Melbourne on April 4. PETER PARKS/AFP via Getty Images

Australia could be facing a “second wave” of COVID-19 after 126 new cases were recorded over the past week. Australian officials are now mulling a possible implementation of new restrictions. 

New cases have been confirmed across Melbourne, the country’s second largest city. Melbourne CBD currently has the highest number of active cases.

In the state of Victoria, six COVID-19 hotspots have been identified by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC). These are Brimbank, Cardinia, Casey, Darebin, Hume and Moreland. Health officials have since discouraged travel to and from these local areas to avoid acquiring and further spreading the virus, ABC noted.

Of the 126 confirmed cases last week, 90% have been confirmed in Victoria state. 

"At the moment the recommendation is simply an advisory, a strong advisory, where what we don't want is people to come from those areas to other parts of Victoria, or interstate," said Brendan Murphy, Australia's chief medical officer.

Authorities blame the increased community transmission to family gatherings and parties. Two family clusters in Melbourne suburbs account for 25 cases. A few cases have also been linked to an H&M store at Northland Shopping Centre.

With this, the Victorian government has confirmed they will reimpose restrictions on social gatherings to help curb the spread. Police will also ramp up patrolling and will strictly impose social distancing requirements and other restrictions. 

Dr. Stephen Duckett, a health economist, warned that reopening the economy, including schools, restaurants and other public areas could lead to a coronavirus “second wave.” He also noted workplaces are “particularly high risk.”

“Australia has not yet won the battle against COVID-19, and coming out of lockdown risks a second wave of infections,” Dr. Duckett said in a piece published on Grattan Institute.

“Grattan Institute modelling shows that reopening shops, schools, and workplaces heightens the risk of new infections, especially if people think the threat is over and ignore social distancing rules.”

Despite the growing number of new cases and warnings from medical experts, Prime Minister Scott Morrison still urges states to reopen and continue removing social distancing restrictions.

As of June 22, 10:06 p.m. AEST, thereare 7,474 confirmed coronavirus cases, an increase of 13 from the Sunday, and 102 deaths. 

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