For months Australia has felt optimistic about containing Covid-19, but a resurgence of the virus in Melbourne has put those efforts at a critical stage.
About 300,000 people were ordered back into lockdown this week amid a military-assisted operation to “ring fence” 10 postcodes at the centre of the outbreak.
The problem has escalated in the past fortnight – there are now 482 active cases in the state of Victoria.
The numbers remain below Australia’s March peak, but what’s concerning to authorities is that local transmission is now the key source of infections.
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Previously, most cases were coming from travellers returning from overseas. Australia’s curve flattened rapidly three months ago with the enforcement of lockdowns and mandatory hotel quarantines for people entering the country. It has had about 8,000 cases in total and 104 deaths.
In every other state, the virus has been dramatically slowed or eradicated. So what’s gone wrong in Victoria?
There have been failures in hotel quarantine
Premier Daniel Andrews has pinpointed the origin of many infections to workers overseeing hotel quarantines breaking the rules. More than 20,000 travellers have gone through 14-day quarantine in the state