Australia Coronavirus Update: Long Queues At COVID-19 Tests Sites As Cases Surge

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Capital city Santiago now has the fourth-largest number of confirmed cases of any city in the world; pictured are health staff transferring a patient with symptoms of COVID-19 at San Jose Hospital in Santiago amid the novel coronavirus pandemic
Capital city Santiago now has the fourth-largest number of confirmed cases of any city in the world; pictured are health staff transferring a patient with symptoms of COVID-19 at San Jose Hospital in Santiago amid the novel coronavirus pandemic AFP / MARTIN BERNETTI

Australia continues to reel from reports of a surge in coronavirus cases across the country. Victoria is hardest struck with “significant” community transmission over the past week. 

There have been 20 confirmed new COVID-19 cases across Australia as of Tuesday 4:00 p.m. AEST. Of this total, 17 are in Victoria, two are in Western Australia and one in New South Wales. 

In Victoria, the number of suspected community transmissions have risen to 233, up by 11 from Monday. Two schools in Melbourne have also been closed down after students test positive for the virus. Brunswick East Primary School and Keilor Views Primary School will remain closed for at least three days while sanitation and contract tracing are being done, ABC reported. 

The recent upsurge has also led to long lines at coronavirus testing sites across the state, especially in more populated cities. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has addressed this concern, apologizing to the public for the hours-long wait but also encouraging them to brave the queues and get tested. 

“I apologise for any delays,” said Andrews

“I’m very proud to think Victorians are coming forward to get tested even if they have to wait,” he said, adding more drive-through test sites will be added in COVID-19 hotspots.

He also acknowledge the "significant" increase in community transmissions, and urged people who show symptoms to stay at home while they wait for their test results. 

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos revealed the government is actively considering reimposing stay-at-home orders to help curb the spread of coronavirus which many consider is on its “second wave” of infections.

"If the numbers keep tracking in this way in these particular hotspot areas we'll have to consider options like going back to the stay-at-home direction,” Mikakos told ABC Radio Melbourne.

Dr. Stephen Duckett, one of Australia’s leading health economists, has also suggested that borders remain closed. He says risking another round of infections by reopening businesses and lowering restrictions will be “worse for the economy.”

As of June 23, 3:18 p.m. AEST, there are 74,92 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Australia and 102 deaths, according to Sydney Morning Herald’s data. More than 2.1 million have been tested and 6,903 have recovered. 

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