Northern Victoria’s financial future is being held to ransom by Melbourne’s out-of-control COVID-19 outbreaks, which is seeing new case numbers explode in the past week.
Member for Murray Plains Peter Walsh said Australia had a total of 47 new cases on Saturday – and 41 of them were in Victoria.
None of them in Campaspe or Gannawarra shires or the Rural City of Swan Hill.
Mr Walsh said while Melbourne faced a tough battle in its hot-spot zones; all of northern Victoria remained “shackled by association – unable to take even the most basic steps to try and save so many local businesses – and the Andrews Labor Government doesn’t seem to even care”.
“What really hurts, the length of the Murray River, is to watch locals pouring across the river to NSW pubs, clubs and cafés where numbers allowed are more than double the ones in our towns,” Mr Walsh said.
“Our region – the whole of the Murray Plains electorate – has recorded only a handful of cases, the people determined from the very start to get this right,” he said.
“And they have.
“The Andrews Labor Government has a golden opportunity here to do something immediate and with enormous long-term potential for the region by introducing two tiers of COVID-19 management – one as a reward for northern Victoria and a job well done.
“And Daniel Andrews needs to do it now before our towns pay a price which may well prove too high for too many small businesses – and if that economic foundation takes a big hit the domino effect could be catastrophic.
Of the new Melbourne cases relating to outbreaks, all but one are existing close contacts of known cases. These new cases are linked to the Wollert outbreak, the North Melbourne Family outbreak, the Albanvale Primary School outbreak and the Stamford Plaza outbreak. Relevant public health actions, including contact tracing are underway.
On the advice of the Victorian chief health officer Brett Sutton, priority suburbs include Keilor Downs, Broadmeadows, Maidstone, Albanvale, Sunshine West, Hallam, Brunswick West, Fawkner, Reservoir and Pakenham, with Keilor Downs and Broadmeadows identified as the top two and current focus of testing.
“This is the eleventh consecutive day of double-digit case growth in Victoria, with a continuing and concerning number of new cases associated with transmission in households and families,” Professor Sutton added.
Despite the few cases in Murray Plains, Mr Walsh urged people “don’t take this disease lightly. if you feel unwell with any symptoms of coronavirus, however mild, you should stay home and get tested”.
“If you have any fever, chills, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose, and loss of sense of smell or taste – stay home, don’t go in to work and don’t visit friends and family. Get tested and stay at home until you get the result.”