A group of Melbourne councillors have written a letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison explaining why they think the coronavirus outbreak has surged in Victoria.
Mayor of Stonnington Steve Stefanopoulos posted the letter on his Facebook page on behalf of himself, Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp and seven other inner Melbourne mayors, in which they claimed language was a huge barrier for many residents who don’t understand coronavirus guidelines via English channels.
“Our non-English speaking background communities are struggling with the challenges of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and limited up-to-date information in their respective languages,” the letter read.
“There are many communities who have English as their second language and thus rely on their native language media outlets for up-to-date information. We don’t believe the message is getting out there.”
The letter was also addressed to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, Health Minister Greg Hunt, Victorian State Health Minister Jenny Mikakos, Multicultural Affairs Minister David Coleman and Victorian Multicultural Affairs Minister Ros Spence.
It comes after Monday’s news Victoria had recorded another 75 new cases of coronavirus in 24 hours. The day before there were 49 new cases.
Victoria was just beginning to emerge from its strict lockdown measures when the recent flare-up began, forcing a reintroduction of bans.
School students and teachers are facing the real prospect of having to operate from home again, with infections hitting six schools across Melbourne on Monday and pupils reportedly being told to take essentials home.
Footscray High was one of six schools closed for deep cleaning after a child tested positive to coronavirus. The others included Al-Taqwa College in Truganina, Maribyrnong College, Queen of Peace Parish Primary School in Altona Meadows, Aitken Hill Primary in Craigieburn and Port Phillip Specialist School in Port Melbourne.
Health authorities also began a coronavirus testing blitz across 10 suburbs Monday, with Premier Andrews saying the capital was “on a knife’s edge”.
Thousands of healthcare workers will continue going door-to-door in COVID-19 hotspot areas over the coming nine days in what Mr Andrews described as a “suburban testing blitz”.
The mammoth effort began in the hard-hit suburbs of Keilor Downs and Broadmeadows. Mr Andrews said authorities would aim to test at least half the residents in those suburbs.
“Those two suburbs, with the highest number of community transmission cases, we will test 50 per cent of those suburbs over the next three days,” he said.
Authorities will then continue the blitz in eight more suburbs from today.