The past two weeks have seen an alarming peak in coronavirus cases for Victoria, which has now quashed plans to ease restrictions as the government races to slow the spread of COVID-19.
On Monday, 75 new cases were found, marking the state's highest single-day increase in over three months and its fourth-highest daily total since the pandemic began. This follows an increase on Sunday of 49 new cases.
Meanwhile, seven new coronavirus cases were recorded elsewhere in Australia on Monday.
This is the latest update on Victoria's second 'coronavirus peak'.
The latest on cases in Victoria.
Victoria recorded 75 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, marking the 13th consecutive day of double-digit rises.
One case is in hotel quarantine from overseas travel, with another 14 linked to previous cases. Thirty-seven were found through routine testing, and 23 cases are still under investigation.
Six are believed to be from community transmission.
Most, but not all, cases were in 10 known hotspots.
The total number of recorded virus cases in Victoria is now 2099, with 288 cases currently active. The state's death toll is 20.
Six schools in Melbourne have been shut for a deep clean following cases in their communities, although no students are in the classroom as it is school holidays.
These schools are:
- Queen of Peace Parish Primary School
- Maribyrnong College
- Aitken Hill Primary in Craigieburn
- Footscray High School
- Port Phillip Specialist School
- Al-Taqwa College
On Sunday, Victorian Premier Dan Andrews highlighted just how infectious the virus is by saying some of the cases came from people sharing a cigarette lighter.
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'It will get worse before it gets better.'
Victoria's Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the "clearly big numbers today" were "absolutely concerning" but it was too soon to say if hotspot suburbs would be put into lockdown.
"It would be a harder step but has to be proportionate," he said. "We know what the consequences are ... in terms of fatigue in people's positive behaviours.
"We don't want to drive people out of suburban areas into new unaffected areas. So there is a balancing act in terms of making the call on a lockdown," he said, indicating "we will use it if it is required".
Sutton said community transmission was happening because people were still going out with symptoms and socialising.
"I think it will get worse before it gets better," he said. "We know what works already. We just need people to do it."
How the government is reacting to the outbreak
The state government announced on Sunday they will implement mandatory testing for all returning travellers before they are allowed out of hotel quarantine.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews explained people in quarantine will be tested twice — first on day three and then again on day 11 of the 14-day quarantine period. He also added that an extra 10-day penalty will be imposed on travellers who do not get tested during their quarantine period.
"Those who refuse to comply with testing will be required to remain in quarantine for a further 10 days to ensure they pose no risk of introducing coronavirus to the Victorian community," he announced on Sunday.
“Much like a bushfire, putting this out is challenging,” Andrews said. “Containing it, though, is something that we can do, and [widespread testing and contact tracing] is the most effective thing to do.”