Melbourne lockdown ‘very likely’ as highly-infectious Delta coronavirus variant spreads

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A Melbourne epidemiologist has warned it’s “very likely” the city will be plunged into its fifth lockdown as the number of new COVID-19 infections continues to grow.

11 new cases of the highly infectious Delta variant emerged on Wednesday from two separate outbreaks, both of which stem from New South Wales.

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Speaking to Sunrise, Professor James Trauer said a lockdown should be imposed immediately to stop the spread.

“We’ve seen increasing cases over the last few days, more exposure sites every day and I think we know that if we go early with lockdowns, the earlier we go, the shorter they need to be,” the head of Epidemiological Modelling at Monash University explained.

Victoria could be plunged into its fifth lockdown after the Sydney outbreak spread to Melbourne. Credit: 7NEWS.com.au/ Harry Thomson

“We need to get on top of this and we still don’t really understand the scale of the number of cases that are being created at the moment, so I would really support an early lockdown.”

The Victorian government has already moved to make masks mandatory indoors across the state.

From Thursday, anyone aged over 12 will be required to wear a mask in all indoor settings, including schools and workplaces, unless an exception applies.

Professor Trauer says a lockdown will stem an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta coronavirus variant.
Professor Trauer says a lockdown will stem an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta coronavirus variant. Credit: Seven

“I was very glad to see that masks are being mandated indoors,” Professor Trauer said.

“That’s a very sensible thing to do first-up and then lockdown measures are logical to follow after that,” he added.

It’s understood government discussions are underway to reimpose a lockdown or other restrictions such as caps on crowd limits and visitors permitted in homes, though a decision is yet to be made.

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