MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – The Australian state of Victoria has registered 17 new cases of COVID-19, leading to the closure of two primary schools in Melbourne. State Prime Minister Daniel Andrews said that among the new cases, there would be “significant community transfer”.
Andrews said one of the new cases came from a person in hotel quarantine, two from known outbreaks, three from routine tests, and 11 that were being investigated.
The two schools are closed for thorough cleaning after students from both schools have tested positive for the corona virus.
The suburbs where the schools are located are two of the six local government hotspots in recent weeks.
Last weekend, Andrews said large family gatherings had been the catalyst for the virus re-emerging in some areas after the rules for locking were relaxed.
“We have seen many families, large families, who have gathered in numbers above the rules,” he said. “I know and understand that all Victorians want this to be over, but we just can’t pretend the virus is gone.”
In the national capital of Canberra, Health Minister Greg Hunt says Australia’s borders will remain closed for “a very significant” time.
Hunt says coronavirus infection rates are accelerating around the world.
“For now we are an island sanctuary,” he told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.
There are 102 deaths from COVID-19 in Australia and more than 7,400 infected.
In other developments around the Asia-Pacific region:
– China reported 22 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, including 13 in Beijing, a day after a city government spokesman said containment measures had delayed the momentum of an outbreak in the capital that has infected more than 200 people. Another nine cases were brought by Chinese travelers from outside the country, seven of whom boarded a flight from Riyadh in Saudi Arabia that arrived in the western city of Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu Province, according to a report from the provincial government. While the situation in Beijing is moving in the right direction, “the prevention situation remains serious and complex,” city spokesman Xu Hejian said at a news conference on Monday. The Beijing outbreak took place in a huge wholesale food market full of workers and buyers. Additional cases leading to the same outbreak have been found in neighboring Hebei Province and near Tianjin City.
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