Australia fears coronavirus second wave as outbreaks pick up

Bloomberg July 13 | Updated on July 13, 2020 Published on July 13, 2020

Australians must guard against complacency and follow social-distancing measures, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said

Australia remains wary that a second-wave of coronavirus is taking hold as authorities rush to contain an outbreak from a hotel popular with travellers, while Melbourne recorded its seventh consecutive day of triple-digit infections.

New South Wales state recorded 14 new Covid-19 infections in the past 24 hours, half of which were from the Crossroads Hotel in Casula on Sydney’s outskirts that is frequented by holiday-makers and truck drivers, the state’s health authorities said on Monday.

Meantime, Victoria state recorded 177 new coronavirus cases, more than one-third below the peak last week after it went into lockdown, the state’s chief health officer Brett Sutton said.

“It’s great that it’s lower than our peak, but it may not be our peak,” Sutton told reporters on Monday. “I want to see a week of decreasing numbers before I come and say that I’ve got a greater confidence about the direction we are going in.”

The second wave of infections dashes hopes Prime Minister Scott Morrison would be able to revive a crippled economy by easing most social-distancing restrictions by end-July after it tumbled into recession in the first half of the year.

Victoria state, which accounts for one-quarter of the nation’s economic output, had to reimpose lockdown orders last week as a second wave of Covid-19 sweeps the state capital.

“Australians must guard against complacency and follow social-distancing measures in a bid to keep restrictions from getting tighter, keep businesses open and get life back to normal as much as it can in a Covid world,” Morrison said on Sydney radio station 2GB on Monday.

“That’s where we want to keep going,” he said. “We don’t want to have to go back.”

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Published on July 13, 2020
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