Asia Today: Virus sets off new school closures in Australia

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Victorian State Premier Daniel Andrews addresses a press conference in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, June 23, 2020. Two schools have been closed in Melbourne after students tested positive for the coronavirus. Victoria state has recorded 17 new cases and Andrews said there would be significant community transmission among the new cases. (James Ross/AAP Image via AP)

MELBOURNE – Australia’s Victoria state has recorded 17 new cases of COVID-19, resulting in the closing of two primary schools in Melbourne. State Premier Daniel Andrews said there would be “significant community transmission” among the new cases.

Andrews said one of the new cases was from a person in hotel quarantine, two were from known outbreaks, three were from routine testing and 11 were under investigation.

The two schools have been closed for thorough cleaning after students from both schools tested positive for the coronavirus.

The suburbs where the schools are located are two of six local government hot spots in recent weeks.

Last weekend, Andrews said large family gatherings had been the catalyst for the virus taking off again in some areas after lockdown rules were eased.

“We have seen many families, large families, that have gathered in numbers beyond the rules,” he said. “I know and understand that all Victorians want this to be over but we simply can’t pretend the virus is gone.”

In the national capital Canberra, Health Minister Greg Hunt says Australia’s borders will remain closed for “a very significant” amount of time.

Hunt says coronavirus infection rates were accelerating around the world.