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ADF called in as Victorian cases surge

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The military has been called in and other states have been asked for help as Victoria battles surging coronavirus numbers.

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The Australian Defence Force as well as NSW, South Australia, Tasmania and Queensland have been enlisted.

“This support will mean we can get even more tests done and results back quickly – and a stronger effort to remind Victorians if you are sick, stay home and get tested,” a government spokeswoman said in a statement.

The state has had 128 new cases of COVID-19 in the past week, with 20 cases and a death recorded on Wednesday.

Victoria’s active cases have jumped from 58 to 143 in the past eight days while the rest of the country combined has had only 20.

It’s understood Victoria has requested about 500 ADF personnel, who will assist with emergency management, logistics and hotel quarantine, with further details to be worked out.

At least 33 staff working at quarantine hotels have been infected with COVID-19 and health officials are investigating links between the workers and other outbreaks.

Currently, 30 people in hotel quarantine have the virus.

It comes as community engagement in the local government areas of Brimbank, Casey, Cardinia, Darebin, Hume and Moreland has ramped up after they were identified as coronavirus hotspots.

The areas have large migrant populations, with many speaking languages other than English at home.

Information about the virus has been translated into 55 languages but Health Minister Jenny Mikakos conceded the government has to “work harder to reach these people”.

A Victorian man in his 80s is Australia’s first coronavirus death in over a month, bringing the state’s death toll to 20 and nationally to 103.

Of the state’s 20 new cases on Wednesday, nine were identified through routine testing, seven are linked to known outbreaks and one is a returned traveller in hotel quarantine. Three cases remain under investigation.

Three people have been linked to a Keilor Downs family cluster, two are staff members at Hampstead Dental in Maidstone, one case has been linked to Northland H&M and another has been linked to St Monica’s college at Epping.

Since the spike in new cases, drive-through testing sites have experienced extremely high demand while panic buying has also returned, with Coles and Woolworths reinstating purchase limits.

The state’s total number of infections is 1884.

-AAP

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