- The Federal Health Minister has sent AUSMAT – Australian Medical Assistance Team – to Victoria as COVID-19 cases grow
- Greg Hunt described AUSMAT as the “SAS of the medical world” and labelled them the “best of the best”
- The Minister’s decision comes as COVID-19 cases continue to spread in aged care homes across Victoria, with more than 800 cases recorded
- Another 295 new cases were also recorded across the state in the last 24 hours, as well as nine more deaths
- NSW has recorded 19 new cases of the coronavirus, prompting Queensland to close its borders to Sydney residents
Specialist medical teams will be sent to aged care homes across Victoria, amid concerns of more deaths amongst the vulnerable population.
A confirmed 804 cases have been linked to aged care facilities across the state, including both staff and residents.
Australia’s Health Minister, Greg Hunt, has now intervened, ordering the Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT) to head to the state and help out amongst the homes.
The Health Minister described AUSMAT as “the SAS of the medical world”.
“AUSMAT, which has helped out in other states and territories, will be coming to Victoria,” he said.
“They’ve assisted in quarantine, they’ve assisted in Western Australia, they’ve assisted in activities around the country and they are the best of the best,” he added.
Along with the medical team assistance, the Health Minister has confirmed an additional five million masks would be sent to Victorian aged care homes.
While more than 100 aged care residents have been transferred out of homes which have high rates of the virus. Some of the residents have been sent to public hospitals, while others are being transferred to private hospitals.
Minister Hunt has also asked for interstate nurses to head over to help the wider Victorian health care community, as more than 500 doctors and nurses have contracted COVID-19.
Rising death toll
Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, today revealed an additional 295 cases of the coronavirus have been recorded across the state in the last 24 hours.
Sadly, another nine people have died from the virus overnight. Seven of the nine people who died contracted the virus from aged care homes and all of the deceased were aged between 60 and 90.
Over 300 people are in hospital with COVID-19, with 41 of those critically ill in intensive care.
Today’s daily case numbers are relatively low compared to the previous high of 532 new cases recorded on Monday, July 27.
But, Premier Andrews said Victoria still had a lot of work to do before re-introduced stage three lockdown restrictions could be eased.
“What I would say on restrictions, we still have numbers that are way too high,” he said.
“Obviously it’s always pleasing when there are fewer numbers than more… but at the same time, trends are not made in one day,” he added.
Sydney shut off
Victoria is not the only state dealing with a resurgence of COVID-19 cases – NSW also recorded an additional 19 new cases today.
Ten of the 19 cases are linked to one cluster, the Thai Rocks Restaurant in Wetherill Park in Greater Western Sydney. So far, 85 cases have been linked to the restaurant.
Three more cases have also been linked to a single funeral service held in Sydney’s southwest, where 18 people in total have been infected with COVID-19.
While one more case has also been linked to the Crossroads Hotel cluster in Casula, the first time a new case has emerged from that cluster in a week. A total of 57 people have contracted the virus after dining at the pub.
Sydney’s growing community transmissions have prompted Queensland officials to close their borders to all Sydney residents.
BREAKING: Queensland will close its borders to all of Greater Sydney. From 1am Saturday, more hotspots will be declared and no one from Sydney will be allowed into Queensland. #COVID19au pic.twitter.com/044iZeTZ1g— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) July 29, 2020
NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, has criticised the border closure and revealed she wasn’t given prior warning of the change.
“The economic consequences in Queensland or South Australia will hurt much more than it hurts NSW, we are in the strongest position in the nation, which we want to maintain obviously,” she said.
“The only challenge for NSW is limited freedom of movement for our residents,” she added.