Vic lockdown restrictions could be EXTENDED as coronavirus cases in Melbourne cause concern
Victorians should prepare for a possible extension of the state’s five-day COVID-19 lockdown, with authorities noting: it’s a day-by-day proposition.
A stay-at-home order is due to expire at midnight on Tuesday, but could be extended based on data including case numbers and exposure sites, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said.
“Every Victorian needs to ready themself for what might emerge over the next 24/48 hours,” he said on Saturday.
“All I can say is the response couldn’t have been better. The judgements that have been made around a hard and fast lockdown have been the right ones. And that’s got us on a good track.
“We’ve got settings in place until Tuesday midnight and we will make another assessment every day over the next three days.”
Vic COVID-19 update
On Saturday authorities estimated there were 10,000 “primary close contacts” in Victoria as the number of exposure sites stretched towards 200, with 19 new locally acquired cases.
The latest case count took the number of diagnoses in the current Victorian outbreak to 43, all linked to a known source.
Some of the exposure sites and close contacts have spread to regional Victoria.
Sites of concern include pubs, clubs, restaurants, sporting venues, shopping centres, schools and gyms in metropolitan Melbourne, suburbs and multiple locations at Phillip Island, a two-hour drive south of Melbourne.
Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said the state looks forward to the Commonwealth’s vaccination program push.
“I don’t think it’s a state secret that we are a long way behind where we should be in the vaccination program,” he told reporters on Saturday.
“That is one of the factors that has helped shape the public health team’s decision to go hard and go early (with a lockdown), because you cannot protect Victorians with what is, I think, 12 per cent of Victorians vaccinated.”
Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania have imposed border restrictions with Victoria.
Authorities in Victoria say their approach is being vindicated by the spiralling situation in NSW.
Although 18 of the 19 new cases in Victoria were not in insolation for the entirety of their infectious period, on average each only spent 1.7 days in the community before their infection was picked up.
“That figure is a vindication of the going hard and going early strategy that the public health team has put to the government,” Victoria’s Health Minister Martin Foley said.
Victoria lockdown restrictions
Victoria was plunged into a five-day statewide lockdown in a bid to contain the growing outbreak of the COVID-19 Delta variant.
The lockdown is Melbourne’s fifth since the start of the pandemic and the third in 2021.
From 11.59pm on Thursday, millions of residents have only been permitted to leave home for five reasons:
- to shop for food and essential items
- to provide or receive care
- to exercise
- to work or study if they are unable to from home
- to get vaccinated
The same rules that applied during last month’s lockdown have been reimposed, including a 5km travel limit for exercise and shopping, and compulsory masks indoors and outdoors.
All non-essential retail has been closed but essential stores like supermarkets, bottle shops and pharmacies remain open, with shopping limited to one person per day, per household.
Under the lockdown, home gatherings are also banned and hospitality venues are limited to takeaway only.
The lockdown is set to end at 11.59pm on Tuesday, though restrictions in regional Victoria could be lifted earlier if it is safe to do so.