Movement levels in Victoria reach coronavirus lockdown highest, Google data shows
Professor Baxter said that as draconian as the reintroduced curfew and closed playgrounds seemed, it sent a strong message to people that collective behavior needed to change.
“The number one problem is that people’s mental health is suffering and they are exhausted,” she said.
“What mainly motivated this was not glaring events. These are little transgressions, little things, like having little family reunions, a play date at the park because your child is feeling lonely, or having people over for a little birthday party. What will be the harm? No one has symptoms, so it’s a very low risk.
Data showed that last Friday the number of trips to retail and entertainment venues in Victoria was 33% below pre-pandemic levels – the highest level of mobility during a lockdown since July of last year.
University of South Australia epidemiologist Professor Adrian Esterman said pandemic fatigue could be “dangerous”.
“Events like the Melbourne street pub crawl create exactly the kind of situations where you get super prevalent events,” he said.
Mobility data showed other areas – such as Wyndham and Hobsons Bay in west Melbourne – saw no significant change in movement levels from previous closures this year.
Victoria registered 57 new cases Thursday – the largest to date this epidemic – including three mystery cases and 10 in the community during part of their infectious period.
Thirty-eight of those cases were people linked to the Al-Taqwa College outbreak who tested positive on day 13 of their quarantine. Authorities expect more as more people reach the 13-day test on Friday.
The government announced three more driving vaccination hubs in Werribee, Broadmeadows and Wyndham.
Victoria’s acting health official Ben Cowie said of the 529 cases acquired locally since July 12, 80 were eligible but not vaccinated, 45 had received a dose and 23 were fully vaccinated. Of the 14 cases currently hospitalized, none had been vaccinated.
Prime Minister Daniel Andrews said there were 26,000 vaccination appointments available at state centers next week.
Authorities are particularly concerned about repeated strong sewage detections of COVID-19 fragments at an industrial area in Sunshine West. The outbreak in Carlton’s public housing towers was initially detected from the sewage results.
Victorian COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar apologized to the Jewish population of Melbourne on Thursday after mentioning in a coronavirus briefing on Wednesday that members of the Orthodox Jewish community were among those tested positive.
Meanwhile, police have imposed more than 50 fines across the state, including 13 curfew violations, 12 private gatherings and 11 mask offenses.
Grants and hardship payments will be extended an additional two weeks for Victorian workers and businesses to match the extended lockdown.
An additional $ 807 million, on top of the $ 2 billion already paid by federal and state governments during this outbreak, will go to beneficiaries.
The majority of payments will automatically flow to over 110,000 businesses that have already enrolled in the state’s relief payment program.
Commonwealth disaster payments worth between $ 450 and $ 750 per week will continue, and Victorian-era micro businesses and independent traders are encouraged to apply for these payments.
Small and medium-sized businesses are eligible for grants valued at $ 10,000 to $ 14,000, while businesses can also receive $ 5,600 through a business expense assistance fund. Licensed sites are eligible for a grant of $ 5,000 to $ 10,000.
Regional Victoria was no longer locked down late last week, which would have influenced the increase in mobility statewide, but Google data also shows increased mobility in most parts of Melbourne.
Google’s mobility data is based on anonymized information the tech giant collects from smartphone users who choose to share their location history. It has been used by state and federal governments as an indicator of lockdown compliance.
With Paul Sakkal
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