News Coronavirus Nineteen diagnosed: Victoria reels as fresh COVID-19 cases continue to spike

Nineteen diagnosed: Victoria reels as fresh COVID-19 cases continue to spike

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Police will step up the enforcement of social distancing rules as Victoria's COVID resurgence escalates. Photo: Getty
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Victoria has recorded 19 new coronavirus cases overnight, the fifth day in a row of double-digit increases, prompting the Government to extend the state of emergency for a further four weeks.

It includes three new cases linked to an outbreak among contractors working at the Stamford Plaza Hotel, where returned international travellers have been quarantined, bringing the total number of cases in that cluster to 13.

There was also four new cases of travellers in hotel quarantine, three detected in routine testing and eight cases under investigation.

victoria infections spike
Fresh diagnoses continue to be linked to the Stamford Plaza quarantine centre. Photo: ABC

Ms Mikakos said the state of emergency had been extended to allow the Chief Health Officer to continue to issue fresh legal directions.

“We still have, obviously, a public health emergency in Victoria,” Ms Mikakos said.

“It is still a very serious situation.”

The recent spike in cases has prompted the Government to bring back some tougher restrictions, including limiting visitors inside homes to five people and outdoor gatherings to 10 people from midnight tonight.

But some restrictions will still be relaxed, including allowing gyms to reopen from tomorrow.

Ms Mikakos said people still need to consider their need to move about in the community.

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Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos pleads with Victorians to play it safe. Photo: AAP

“Just because you can do something does not mean you should do it,” she said.

“Particularly in Melbourne, and in particular parts of Melbourne, we have many confirmed cases and therefore moving about, having interaction with other members of the community does present you with a risk and presents a risk to your loved ones as well.”

Police Minister Lisa Neville said police were once again planning to step up their enforcement of the restrictions on group gatherings, particularly in areas of Melbourne deemed hotspots.

“They’ll also be focused around the school holidays and the ski season,” she said.

“We want to make sure that there isn’t large congregations of people.”

Ms Neville said most Victorians had done the right thing in the past, but action was necessary to ensure people were complying with the restrictions.

“This is a really critical moment in terms of how this virus operates in the future in Victoria,” she said.