daniel andrews
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews (Image: AAP/James Ross)

Victoria’s coronavirus cases just keep coming, leading the state to extend its state of emergency and consider locking down hotspot areas.

Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump gets trolled by fake attendees at his rally — then attempts to troll the media with an ill-timed ‘joke’ — while Australians start spending again. 

Victoria’s cases climb up and up and up and up and up…

Victorians have been told to avoid six coronavirus hotspot areas across Melbourne — Hume, Casey, Brimbank, Moreland, Cardinia and Darebin — as the virus surges across the state. 

Yesterday cases climbed to 1836, with 19 new infections. Four were linked to known outbreaks, four were in hotel quarantine, three though routine testing and eight are still under investigation. There has been four days of double-digit growth in cases. 

Large family gatherings are thought to be behind two of the spikes, while hotel clusters are behind another two. Police are cracking down on those who break the rules. 

Victoria has extended its state of emergency for another month and has delayed restriction rollbacks — including allowing pubs to have 50 patrons — which were set to start today.

Hospitality businesses have gone further into debt, having ordered stock and taken bookings in preparation for the now-cancelled relaxed restrictions. 

Queensland has enforced a 14-day quarantine for travellers arriving from Victoria. While NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has been against border closures, she will be updated today ahead of interstate travellers arriving for the school holidays. 

No laughing matter

US President Donald Trump gave a rambling speech to sparsely-populated stands at a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma over the weekend. Many who RSVP’d were social media platform TikTok users who planned to troll the president

At the rally Trump claimed he’d asked health officials to slow down COVID-19 testing so as to limit the reported number of cases — though the White House has defended this as a “joke”. 

It’s unclear whether his six staffers who worked on the rally and tested positive for coronavirus were laughing. 

Daily counts of coronavirus cases in the US are the highest they’ve been in over a month, with health experts preparing for an autumn wave of the virus. 

Hey, big spender — don’t come here

Despite the turmoil in Victoria, shopping has returned to near normal after months of panic buying and bunkering down. After an initial surge, spending slumped to 20% below normal levels in mid-April. Over the past two weeks, consumer spending has been just 2-3% lower than pre-pandemic levels. 

That return to normalcy is not expected to be so swift for travel, with tourists expected to be overly cautious about where they fly, and who they fly with. 

Spain has started welcoming overseas visitors, with the government launching a publicity campaign called ‘Spain for Sure’ to lure back travellers who make up around 12% of its GDP. 

Australia isn’t expected to reopen its borders to international travellers until 2021

Peter Fray

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