Victoria premier concerned over mall outbreak

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA (AP) — The COVID-19 figures in Australia’s Victoria state continued to show improvement yesterday but officials are concerned about an outbreak at the country’s largest shopping centre.

Victoria reported three more COVID-19 deaths and eight more cases. The figures take the state toll to 805 and the national death count to 893. Melbourne’s latest 14-day average stood at 12 cases, and there have been 11 cases with an unknown source in the past two weeks up to Wednesday.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said a recent outbreak linked to southeast Melbourne’s Chadstone Shopping Centre showed why it was unsafe to ease restrictions.

A cluster of cases at the 550-store shopping centre grew to 11 and includes a family.

“If we were to open up now, just as our modelling tells us … it will be many hundreds of cases,” Andrews said.

Melbourne’s strict lockdown rules continue to be eased, and an overnight curfew ended last week.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s daily coronavirus tally remained in double digits for a third straight day, as authorities called for vigilance during one of the country’s biggest holidays.

The 75 cases added in the past 24 hours took the country’s total to 24,027 with 420 deaths.

South Korea’s caseload has been waning following a spike in new infections between early August and mid-September. Stringent social distancing was credited with slowing the outbreak.

But worries about a rebound in cases grew again as South Korea celebrated the traditional autumn Chuseok holidays last week that almost certainly increased public mobility.

People cross a street in Melbourne’s central business district. PHOTO: AFP