Second wave soars

Police check vehicles at Kalkallo last week. Photo: Joe Mastroianni 211041_01

Benjamin Millar and Goya Dmytryshchak

Almost 70 active coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Maribyrnong and Hobsons Bay as metropolitan Melbourne enters its second week of stage three “stay at home” restrictions.

Maribyrnong had 46 active cases and a total of 84 on Sunday, while Hobsons Bay had 23 active cases and a total of 53.

Victoria’s overall coronavirus cases reached 3799 on Sunday and the death of a man in his 70s took the death toll from the virus to 24.

Victoria Police has established vehicle checkpoints across nine major arterial roads intercepting vehicles at random to ensure people are complying with restrictions.

A Victoria Police spokesperson said automatic number plate recognition technology would also be used at these sites to detect vehicles registered to owners in restricted areas.

“There will also be mobile police vehicles across the state enforcing the chief health officer restrictions for the metro Melbourne and Mitchell Shire,” the spokesperson said.

Eight coronavirus cases have now been linked to Cenvic Construction’s Riverina Apartments building site in Footscray, four cases have been linked to JBS Abattoir in Brooklyn and 11 have been linked to Somerville Meats in Tottenham.

An Altona Meadows aged care worker tested positive last week.

The employee at Benetas St George’s residential aged care last worked there on July 3 and was asymptomatic.

The home to about 150 residents has been locked down and cleaning, testing and contact tracing are under way.

Three more cases have been linked to the Woolworths Customer Fulfilment Centre in West Footscray, taking the total to four – three staff members and a household contact of a staff member.

A Woolworths spokesperson said the centre has undergone deep cleaning.

“We will continue to ensure all relevant health and safety measures are in place regarding testing and social distancing to protect our team members.”

Melbourne’s largest Islamic school, Al-Taqwa College in Truganina, has been linked to the state’s biggest cluster with 144 cases.

Victorian students in prep to year 10 have had their school holidays extended until this Friday ahead of a return to remote learning for the start of term three.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Sunday that year 11 and 12 VCE students will return to face-to-face learning however all other students will be remote learning until at least August 19.

“Keeping kids home from school was a vital part of slowing the spread of coronavirus before, and it will be vital to our efforts again,” he said.

Mr Andrews has also asked all Victorians living in metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire to wear face masks in situations when they are leaving their home and physical distancing is not possible, such as at the supermarket or on public transport. The recommendations apply to adults but they will not be enforced.

“The chief health officer has now given us the clear advice that wearing face masks makes a tangible difference when it comes to reducing the transmission of coronavirus within the community – and that is why we are issuing this new recommendation,” Mr Andrews said.