Australia to deploy 1,000 troops in COVID-19-hit state #113043

Australia to deploy 1,000 troops in COVID-19-hit state #113043

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) will significantly increase its support to Victoria to help it contain the recent outbreak of COVID-19.

The country's second-most-populated state, Victoria has seen 10 straight days of double digit new cases.

"Our top priority is on planning and logistics assistance, and medical personnel to support our suburban testing blitz", a state government spokeswoman said. It has about 200 of the country's total of 270 active cases.

Mr Andrews said the testing blitz would target suburbs where there was a "community transmission challenge": Keilor Downs, Broadmeadows, Maidstone, Albanvale, Sunshine West, Hallam, Brunswick West, Fawkner, Reservoir and Pakenham.

"We have ambulances and other vans that will literally be at the end of people's streets", he said.

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Victoria on Sunday extended its state of emergency for four more weeks to July 19.

Australian army troops will support with tests in Victoria, but troops won't enforce quarantine as at first requested by the point out federal government, Morrison reported.

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He said the premiers of New South Wales, Tasmania, South Australia and Queensland had agreed to lend Victoria some of their lab capacity in order to process the extra tests.

"We are dealing with the coronavirus, the COVID-19, better than nearly any country in the world and that's got to give us confidence to be able to move ahead", Morrison said.

The surge in new cases comes just weeks after Australia began easing social distancing restrictions.

"All states are committed to continue on with the various plans that they have and they're making", Morrison told reporters in Canberra.

But about 30% of people in Victoria have declined a COVID-19 test before leaving quarantine, the state's deputy chief medical officer said.

Australia has recorded roughly 7,500 cases of coronavirus and 104 deaths in a population of 25 million, with several regions believed to be effectively virus free.

Australia's global borders will remain closed, but the country's chief medical officer, Brendan Murphy, said Canberra would strengthen requirements on people returning from overseas.

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