Source: ABC
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  • For the first time in months, Melbourne’s daily COVID-19 case total has been eclipsed by an outbreak in another part of Australia
  • 17 cases of the potentially deadly coronavirus have been linked to an iron ore bulk carrier, docked in WA’s Pilbara region
  • Eight new cases were recorded on the vessel yesterday, while only five cases were tabled in Victoria
  • It’s good news for the eastern state, which has finally begun easing harsh lockdown restrictions which have been in place for months
  • Back in WA, ADF troops are being brought in to manage the outbreak in the remote town and stop community spread

For the first time in months, Victoria’s COVID-19 case numbers have been overshadowed by another Australian state.

The current COVID-19 outbreak in Port Hedland, in WA’s far north, has eclipsed the number of cases being recorded in Melbourne.

Vic. outbreak

Only five new cases of the potentially deadly virus were recorded in Victoria on Sunday, in comparison to eight cases recorded in WA.

It’s good news for the millions of people living in Melbourne, as the low case numbers have prompted an easing of lockdown conditions.

Premier Daniel Andrews outlined his plan to remove more restrictions on Sunday, after two weeks of relatively low case numbers, averaging under 50 a day.

Melbourne has been subject to rolling lockdowns on and off since April, including a strict curfew imposed between 8:00 pm and 5:00 am.

WA outbreak

Returning to WA though, all of the new COVID-19 cases are related to an iron ore bulk carrier, which docked in Port Hedland last week carrying a number of sick crew members from Manila.

17 total infections have been linked to the ship, with ten of the sick workers quarantined in a local hotel in the area while the remaining seven are stationed onboard the vessel.

Australia Defence Force troops are being sent up to the rural town to assist in guarding the sick workers, protecting Port Hedland from any community transmission.

Ten soldiers will arrive in Port Hedland on Thursday as concerns grow about the rural town’s ability to handle an outbreak of the potentially deadly virus.

The Australian Medical Association’s WA President, Andrew Miller, has previously raised concerns about the lack of resources available in rural communities.

“What happens if one of them gets really sick? We have handled COVID on ships before but never outside of the Perth metropolitan area,” the AMA President asked.

“More and more and more of the ships that turn up in Western Australia are going to have COVID on them, and so we now need to fully understand how we are going to handle it when it happens in these regional areas that are very vulnerable,” he added.

But the WA Health Department has released a statement saying its staff have experience handling outbreaks on ships and are well prepared and resourced.

The department also revealed that all of the crew onboard the vessel are in good spirits and have been able to contact their family at home.

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