Out of the 549 coronavirus deaths in Australia, 462 are from Victoria. One in five of those victims is of Greek heritage.
As the Australian government attempts to curb the spread of Covid-19 throughout the country by imposing restrictions, Victoria continues to see new cases, as well as new deaths from the virus.
The state was placed under stage three restrictions, including a mandatory mask order, in early August after an increased number of cases. Under stage three restrictions, residents can leave their homes only for four specific reasons: the purchase of food and essential items, care giving, work, and study.
If you are able to work or study from home, you can not leave the house for those reasons.
The metropolitan area of Melbourne is under even stricter level four lockdown measures, under which all non essential businesses are closed, a night-time curfew is in place, and residents can only leave their homes for essential activities.
The increased number of deaths in Victoria, and among the Greek Australian population specifically, is linked to outbreaks of the coronavirus in aged care homes that are owned by Greek Australians or serve the large Greek-Australian community in Victoria.
The outbreak at one of such facilities, St. Basil’s Homes for the Aged, run by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, has led to at least 160 cases of the virus, with 28 deaths recorded.
Victoria’s coroner has opened an investigation into other deaths at the facility in order to determine the total number of deaths from Covid-19, according to ABC News.
In response to the deadly outbreak, residents of the facility were evacuated, and staff that were in close contact with confirmed Covid-19 cases were placed in quarantine.
St. Basil’s now claims that the facility has been sanitized and they are ready to welcome residents back, implementing a strict social distancing policy and frequent testing, as stated by ABC News.
Another facility serving Greeks in Victoria, Epping Gardens Aged Care, was linked to the infection of over 100 staff and residents. Staff shortages and delays in test results are thought to have contributed to the spread of the virus.
The families of victims of these outbreaks in aged care homes are devastated at the loss of their loved ones, and they are seeking legal advice regarding potential negligence.