Sydney, Australia, Aug 13 (efe-epa).- Authorities in Australia’s state of Victoria, home to the city of Melbourne, the epicenter of a strong outbreak of COVID-19, announced Thursday that they will assume control of three private centers for the elderly where some infections have propagated.
The outbreak in Melbourne, aggravated at the end of June by the alleged breach of quarantine by international travelers, caused cases in Victoria to skyrocket from about 2,200 to about 16,000, of the total of 22,300 that Australia has accumulated since the start of the pandemic.
Victoria reported 278 cases Thursday, the lowest figure since Jul. 20, in addition to 8 deaths, 4 of them in centers for the elderly, where more than half of the 275 deaths from COVID-19 have been registered.
“There are three nursing homes in West Melbourne that we are concerned about. The Public Health Services have today taken responsibility for their operational management,” said Victorian Head of Government Daniel Andrews.
The government of Victoria, the second-most populous state in Australia, has deployed health personnel in these senior centers in recent weeks, which have more than 1,000 active cases among residents and workers.
Andrews also announced an increase in aid for temporary workers, many of whom work in caring for the elderly, to encourage them to stay home if they feel ill and get tested for the virus.
The Victorian government has confined some 5 million people living in Melbourne since Jul. 9, but due to the increase in cases, it also decided to impose a night curfew until mid-September.
The authorities’ concerns are focused on the increase in cases of unknown origin, which exceed 3,000, as well as the expansion of COVID-19 in the state, in cities such as Bendigo, Ballarat and Geelong, where the government decided to increase the number of tests to detect COVID-19.
Australia, which had reactivated its economy after suppressing the virus in its territory until the outbreak in Melbourne, also registered several outbreaks of this new coronavirus in the state of New South Wales, which on Thursday registered a death in Sydney, bringing the total death toll to 361 nationwide. EFE-EPA