Shocking images showing shoppers at a Victorian market have emerged as the state battles through a second wave of coronavirus infections.
Victoria’s case numbers surged by 75 on Sunday and then 71 on Monday, marking the biggest increase since the peak in late March that put the state into lockdown.
Experts say the current spike should be immediately stamped out with politicians on guard to reimpose strict lockdown conditions if cases are not immediately controlled.
Pictures taken over the weekend show hundreds of people ignoring social distancing at a market in Daylesford, 112km northwest of Melbourne.
Crowds were pictured swarming Daylesford market on Sunday- the same day Victoria witnessed a 75 new cases of COVID-19, the biggest jump since March
Photos shared across social media showed Victorians flouting social distancing regulations as they browsed through stalls
The images shared on social media showed Victorians packed shoulder-to-shoulder browsing the stalls, in clear breach of social distancing regulations.
Labor MP Mary-Anne Thomas took to Facebook on Monday to express her ‘disappointment’ at the scenes in Daylesford.
‘I was shocked and very disappointed to see these photos on social media over the weekend,’ the Macedon MP wrote.
‘Scenes like this in Daylesford are completely unacceptable, and while visitors are welcome you must follow the rule.’
‘I have spoken to Council today and am ready to help as needed.’
Ms Thomas said in response, the Council had begun working with Victoria police and the Department of Health and Human Service to prevent future incidents.
‘Once again, to locals and visitors alike, please please use common sense,’ she added.
‘Keep your distance and wash your hands. And if you see a crowd don’t join it, walk away and protect your health and that of your loved ones.’
The images (one pictured) were shared on Facebook by Labor MP Mary-Anne Thomas, with many commentators expressing outrage over market-goers deliberately ignoring safety directives
The images provoked outraged comments, with some calling for markets to be closed.
‘I can’t believe how arrogant people are, we’ve been told what not to do and these idiots just go along their merry way with no consideration for anyone else!’ one person wrote.
‘It’s people like this that is going to put us further back so no one can leave their home!’
‘It’s almost like people are thinking it can’t happen to them.’
Another added:’ Simple solution, you don’t want a crowd. Close it. As long as these events are held crowds will come.’
Others said market organisers had put safety directives in place, but they were being ignored by the vast majority of attendees.
A medical professional administers a test to a member of the public at a pop-up coronavirus testing facility in Melbourne
Australians have been warned to stay away from six council in Melbourne: Hume, Casey and Brimbank, Moreland, Cardinia and Darebin
‘Following the rules is so easy and so important. I know market organisers work so hard to try and ensure the rules are observed. They then get blamed when people ignore the rules,’ someone else said.
‘It’s really sad to see that despite all the efforts of organisers and authorities, people refuse to comply with simple directives,’ a woman’s comment read.
Locals from other surrounding Victorian towns, such as Woodend, Malmsbury and Kyneton, said they had witnessed similar disregard for social distancing rules since restrictions were eased last month.
‘I live off one of the tracks coming from Camels Hump in Mt. Macedon,’ a man added.
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN AUSTRALIA: 7,767
New South Wales: 3,184
Western Australia: 609
South Australia: 443
Australian Capital Territory: 108
Northern Territory: 29
TOTAL CASES: 7,767
‘The conduct of many visitors has left a lot to be desired. Absolutely no adherence to social distancing. Hoards of people up and down the tiny tracks.’
Sunday’s surge was Victoria’s biggest increase since March 31, bringing the state’s total to 2099 cases on Monday night, of which 288 were active.
Most of the new spike in infections came from community-based transmissions rather than from overseas travellers.
Australian National University (ANU) Professor Peter Collignon said many new cases came from those going to work or social gatherings when sick.
‘We’re going to live with this for the next two years. This virus isn’t going away,’ Professor Collignon told Nine’s A Current Affair.
Only four of Victoria’s new cases recorded on Sunday were linked to known outbreaks, with 26 detected through routine testing and 19 under investigation.
Six local government areas in Melbourne have been identified as coronavirus hotspots, with authorities conducting mass testing on around 10,000 residents daily.
The areas include Hume and Brimbank, in Melbourne’s north and west, Casey and Cardinia in the city’s southeast and Moreland and Darebin in the north.
Victorian health minister Jenny Mikakos last week warned select localities may face mandatory lockdown if infection rates do not improve.
Premier Daniel Andrews said authorities are waiting on the full results of a three-day coronavirus testing blitz in 10 suburban hotspots to come through before deciding on any further measures to contain the virus.
Nationwide, there has been 7767 confirmed cases of coronavirus, including 104 deaths. Of the total, 7008 have recovered.
An elderly man is tested on Saturday in Melbourne. Plans to reopen state borders in WA, SA, NSW, VIC, and ACT have been shelved amid the spike in Victoria
Plans to ease restrictions were put on hold by the state government last week, while the number of visitors allowed at homes was reduced to five.
The second wave has made several Australian states wary of reopening borders to travellers.
Plans to reopen Western Australia’s interstate borders on August 8 have been shelved until Victoria’s case numbers significantly improve.
Queensland, which was considering opening its borders in early July, will announce on Tuesday whether the date will be set back a few more weeks in response to the surge.
South Australia has scrapped a plan to lift all its remaining border restrictions on July 20.
Premier Steven Marshall said on Tuesday the July 20 date to lift quarantine measures for Victoria, NSW and the ACT has been abandoned on the latest health advice.
Victorians are told they might be legally forced to minimise their movements
Victorians have been warned they might be legally forced to minimise their movements to help contain the spread of coronavirus after the state recorded 75 new cases.
Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the increase in cases on Monday was concerning but big numbers could be turned around if people ‘do the right thing’.
‘What we’re seeing is transmission across settings because people are still going out with symptoms,’ he said.
‘Whether or not it needs a legal direction is a conversation to be had over the next few days, we are not there yet.
‘But the solution is there already, which is people not having unnecessary contacts across multiple households, across multiple settings.’
Claiming the state’s contact tracing detectives had found greater links between households that had been seen as separate outbreaks, Professor Sutton also sent a stern message to younger people.
‘No one wants to be in a position where you’re killing a family member because you’re not looking after yourself in terms of the risk of transmission,’ he said.
‘They can’t dismiss it on the basis that they might have a milder illness.’
Victoria’s 75 new coronavirus cases mark the biggest increase since the peak in late March that put the state into lockdown.
Victoria had its worst result on March 28, when 111 tests returned positive results.
Tough stage three restrictions allowing Victorians to leave the house only for essential purchases were imposed on March 30.
Victoria has had double-digit increases for 13 days in a row – in stark contrast to the rest of Australia.
In the fortnight from June 15 to Monday, Victoria had 367 new cases, while the rest of the country had 65 combined.
In that period, Victoria’s active cases have soared from 52 to 288.
Opposition leader Michael O’Brien said Victoria was ‘the coronavirus capital of the country’, and urged the government to take urgent action to avoid another lockdown.
Authorities are yet to decide whether tighter measures on coronavirus hotspots should be imposed.
‘We are obviously concerned by the increasing number and upward trend, and we are monitoring the situation very closely,’ Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said.
‘Many of the cases that have come through today, they are overwhelmingly concentrated in those priority suburbs.’
More than 792,000 tests have been done in the state, about 53,000 in a blitz on suburbs considered the latest coronavirus hotspots with more than 15,000 completed since Sunday.
Professor Sutton said a call on new restrictions would have to be proportionate.
‘We know what the consequences are of a lockdown in terms of fatigue in people’s behaviours and we don’t want to drive people out of suburban areas into new unaffected areas,’ he said.
‘It’s a real challenge for people in their homes if that’s what’s required, but it’s absolutely an option … and we’ll use it if it’s required.’
One new case was linked to hotel quarantine and 14 are linked to known outbreaks.
Another 37 cases were detected through routine testing and 23 are still under investigation, with both groups possibly linked to known outbreaks.
An Ambulance Victoria paramedic has tested positive for coronavirus. It is the second time a paramedic has tested positive and in both cases, neither case was acquired on the job.