Victoria records 66 new coronavirus cases after 36 suburbs were put back into lock down

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Victoria records 66 new coronavirus cases after 36 suburbs were put back into lock down

Victoria has recorded 66 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours. A total of 23 are in hospital with six people fighting for life in intensive c

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Victoria has recorded 66 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours. 

A total of 23 are in hospital with six people fighting for life in intensive care. 

Since last Thursday the state has swabbed more than 164,000 people in a ‘testing blitz’ – but 10,000 residents have refused.

Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said some refused because they believed coronavirus was a conspiracy and wouldn’t affect them. 

Ms  Mikakos said the postcodes with the most cases are 3064, 3031, 3047 and 3060. 

Earlier on Friday Melbourne’s hotel quarantine disaster was compared to the Ruby Princess catastrophe and Liberals called for Ms Mikakos to resign.

The Victorian government has been accused of ‘putting other states at risk’ after private security guards hired to enforce hotel quarantine breached health protocols and even allegedly had sex with returned travellers.

The breaches have led to a massive outbreak in Melbourne with 300,000 residents in 36 suburbs placed back into lockdown from Thursday. 

A passenger wearing a protective suit and mask collects her luggage after arriving on a flight from Melbourne at Sydney Airport

A passenger wearing a protective suit and mask collects her luggage after arriving on a flight from Melbourne at Sydney Airport

Police Officers check reasons for not being at home in a booze bus-style random checkpoint on Camp Road, Broadmeadows

Police Officers check reasons for not being at home in a booze bus-style random checkpoint on Camp Road, Broadmeadows

State Opposition leader Michael O’Brien today described the disaster as ‘Victoria’s Ruby Princess’ and said that some private security guards are still guarding hotels.

The Ruby Princess cruise ship was allowed to dock in Sydney on 19 March before 2,700 people disembarked without COVID tests. More than 300 passengers were infected and 22 have died. 

‘It feels like Victoria is a bit like the embarrassing uncle at the dinner table,’ Mr O’Brien told Sunrise on Friday morning.

‘This is Victoria’s Ruby Princess in a way.’

Mr O’Brien called for Ms Mikakos to resign and say sorry to Victorians for the hotel fiasco.

‘The Victorian government has let the rest of the country down,’ he said.

The Ruby Princess cruise ship (pictured) was allowed to dock in Sydney on 19 March

The Ruby Princess cruise ship (pictured) was allowed to dock in Sydney on 19 March 

New South Wales has used ADF troops (pictured in Sydney) to enforce the quarantine of more than 25,000 returned travellers without suffering any major outbreaks

New South Wales has used ADF troops (pictured in Sydney) to enforce the quarantine of more than 25,000 returned travellers without suffering any major outbreaks

Staff inside the Stamford Hotel in Melbourne are seen moving luggage for guests in quarantine

Staff inside the Stamford Hotel in Melbourne are seen moving luggage for guests in quarantine

‘Frankly, heads should roll. I’ve said that the health minister really needs to go. There has to be accountability when these sorts of mistakes happen. 

‘It’s not about finger-pointing it’s about being accountable for the job you’ve got to do and the health minister has completely bothched this and at least she should fall on her sword and apologise to Victorians and the rest of the country for what’s happened here.’ 

He added: ‘This shouldn’t have happened, what has happened isn’t bad luck, it’s bad decision making from a government that put unqualified, untrained and unprofessional security guards in charge of hotel quarantine.’

Victoria is desperately battling what appears to be a second wave of the deadly virus after suffering 355 new cases since Monday, less than four weeks after stamping out the disease when zero new cases were recorded on June 5.

On Thursday, a man in Darwin tested positive after catching the disease in Victoria before a Woolworths worker, who was cleared to leave Melbourne quarantine after bringing the virus from Bangladesh, was also diagnosed with COVID-19 in Sydney.

Ms Mikakos has blamed Victoria’s outbreak on ‘large family gatherings’ but health officials have admitted that ‘dozens’ of cases can be traced back to breaches in the hotel quarantine system.

Victorian Premier Dan Andrews (pictured in Beijing's Tiananmen Square) has lost support among his voters during the state's recent spike in coronavirus cases. He made the mistake of using private security guards to enforce hotel quarantine

Victorian Premier Dan Andrews (pictured in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square) has lost support among his voters during the state’s recent spike in coronavirus cases. He made the mistake of using private security guards to enforce hotel quarantine

Since March, Victoria has quarantined more than 18,000 travellers returning from overseas but, unlike other state leaders, Mr Andrews chose to enforce the quarantine with private security guards instead of the police and defence force.

It has since emerged that security guards breached infection protocols by mingling with guests and failing to use personal protective equipment properly.

Insiders have also alleged that some guards fell asleep on the job, shook hands and even slept with hotel guests.

Daniel Andrews adopted a rogue plan, which bucked the consensus of National Cabinet. He has put other states at risk

Liberal MP James Newbury 

Premier Andrews said the guards shared cigarette lighters and even made journeys in the same cars while Deputy Chief Health Officer Annaliese van Diemen said that several guards breached social distancing rules.

‘There’s been closer mingling of these guards than we would like in the workplace,’ she said. 

More than 60 cases can be traced back to two quarantine hotels in Melbourne’s CBD – the Stamford Plaza and the Rydges on Swanston – after workers and guards caught the virus and took it back to their friends and families. 

By contrast, New South Wales has used ADF troops to enforce the quarantine of more than 25,000 returned travellers without suffering any major outbreaks. 

This map shows the suburbs which will be subject to stay-at-home orders from Wednesday at 11.59pm after a spike in coronavirus cases

This map shows the suburbs which will be subject to stay-at-home orders from Wednesday at 11.59pm after a spike in coronavirus cases

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