Australian military deployed to assist with state virus outbreak

Source:Xinhua Published: 2020/6/25 16:41:41

Photo taken on March 25, 2020 shows marks on the sofa reminding people of social distancing at a clinic in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Gui Qing/Xinhua)

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) will deploy over 1,000 military personnel to the state of Victoria to help contain an outbreak of COVID-19, authorities announced Thursday.

Victoria reported 33 new cases on Thursday, the state's largest daily increase in close to three months, further fuelling concerns over a second wave of infections.

Premier Daniel Andrews said that the military would be assisting with a "testing blitz", aiming to conduct 100,000 tests over the next 10 days, primarily across hotspot areas in the state capital of Melbourne.

Other States have agreed to help process the extra tests, which will be flown interstate by the ADF.

Wednesday marked the ninth straight day of double digit increases in Victoria's case numbers, in contrast to most other regions reporting zero new infections for the past several weeks.

ADF personnel will also be involved in bolstering standards of the hotel quarantine system which has been linked to two of Victoria's current outbreaks.

"Our soldiers are not law enforcement personnel... they are not security guards, but they are assisting those locations to make sure quarantine requirements are met," Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds told the ABC.

Workers at a major supermarket distribution centre were also among the State's new cases, with two employees forced to self isolate after they tested positive along with a number of their family members.

With the rest of the country looking to ease virus restrictions, Australians in other States have been told not to travel to Victoria and to avoid interacting with people from hotspot areas.

Mobile photo taken on March 25, 2020 shows a bus running past the Town Hall in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Gui Qing/Xinhua)

New South Wales (NSW), which has maintained an open border with Victoria throughout the pandemic, advised those travelling from Melbourne to self isolate for a period of two weeks.

Additionally Victorians were banned from attending sports matches, which in other states have begun allowing crowds of up to 10,000 people.

NSW Health Minister, Brad Hazzard, said that officials from the popular Rugby League and Aussie Rules sporting codes had confirmed they would not sell tickets to Victorians.


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