Health ministers urge protesters to isolate themselves as new cases of the virus emerge

Tony Burton, president of the Australian Medical Association, urged everyone who took part in the Black Lives Matter protest over the weekend to isolate themselves.

Dr Burton’s call echoed a message from the Indigenous Resistance Fighters (WAR) – which organized the Melbourne protests – urging participants to disassociate themselves for at least 14 days.

On Monday, Victoria announced three cases of the coronavirus virus – a recurring tourist who closed a hotel and a resident of the maid’s elderly care in the northeastern Victorian town of Jaina.

New South Wales has recorded two returning passengers and three new cases under investigation by the third.

The death toll from COVID-19 in Australia has risen to 7,260 and 102 people respectively. More than 1.6 million tests were taken across the country.

Mild skin nursing home residents are one of the latest infections. Photo: Google

Victoria’s chief health officer, Professor Brett Sutton, said anyone who set foot this weekend and felt sick should be examined immediately.

Indigenous resistance fighters told Facebook followers Monday morning that they would not see older people for two weeks and would not talk to a doctor if they had any COVD-19 symptoms.

Thousands of Australians took to the streets over the weekend after the death of George-Floyd, an African-American man, while in police custody, despite advising health officials not to join for fear of igniting a second wave of virus infection.

Dr Burton said Australia was still in the early stages of easing virus restrictions.

“Thursday’s rallies were undoubtedly the most recent meeting on the list (restrictions) and it was contrary to the advice of all health authorities,” he said.

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside Sydney City Hall during the mass demonstration on Saturday, blocking the Lord Mayor’s rooms in Sydney. Photo: AAP

He said “with great caution” that those present should “consider their position” and consider the possibility of isolating themselves from the community.

Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister Simon Birmingham described the timing of the Black Live Matter marches as “incredibly unfortunate” but acknowledged that protesters did not vote.

“I think the timing was incredibly unfortunate and I acknowledge that what happened in the United States was not under the control of any protest organization,” Senator Birmingham told ABC Radio on Monday.

“However, there may be other ways to try to create the kind of movement and symbolism that the brain was looking for without the need for mass conferences.”

Finance Minister Matthias Kerman previously described the protests as “reckless, irresponsible and funny.”

Workers Native spokesman Pat Dodson said it was not responsible for describing protesters as dangerous.

“If there is no voice in parliament that clearly expresses the feeling and concern that indigenous peoples have faced on most of their fronts, you will try to get people to try and at least get their point across,” Senator Dodson told ABC Radio.

“It can be as risky for yourself as it is for others.”

Australia’s top health officials are meeting on Monday to discuss the next steps in removing the virus.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said public meetings would be considered.

“Currently our view of these processes will not change, but specifically it says that it can do so depending on what happens in the case of freezing.”

With AAP

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