MELBOURNE, Australia — Coronavirus infections in Australia's Victoria state have prompted new school closings, and the state's leader said there would be “significant community transmission” among the new cases.
The Melbourne suburbs where the schools are located have been identified as hot spots in recent weeks. The two primary schools have been closed for thorough cleaning after students tested positive.
Australia’s Victoria state has recorded 17 new cases. State Premier Daniel Andrews said there would be “significant community transmission” among them.
Andrews said one of the new cases was from a person in hotel quarantine, two were from known outbreaks, three were from routine testing and 11 were under investigation.
Last weekend, Andrews said large family gatherings had been the catalyst for the virus taking off again in some areas after lockdown rules were eased.
“We have seen many families, large families, that have gathered in numbers beyond the rules,” he said. “I know and understand that all Victorians want this to be over but we simply can’t pretend the virus is gone.”
In the national capital Canberra, Health Minister Greg Hunt says Australia’s borders will remain closed for “a very significant” amount of time.
Hunt says coronavirus infection rates were accelerating around the world.
“For the time being we are an island sanctuary,” he told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.
There have been 102 deaths due to COVID-19 in Australia and more than 7,400 people have been infected.