Brett Sutton says Victoria’s lockdown restrictions have helped the state avoid “thousands” of new COVID-19 cases, citing the highly infectious nature of the Delta variant.
Victoria on Wednesday recorded its highest daily total of new cases for the current outbreak, taking the total number of active cases in the outbreak to 107.
Victoria’s health authorities are expected to provide a COVID-19 update on Thursday. This article will be updated with the time as soon as it’s available. You can watch the press conference LIVE in the video player ABOVE as soon as it’s available.
“It is a variant that takes off from dozens to thousands of cases within just a matter of weeks,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
“If we’d locked down today, instead of when we did, we would get thousands of cases in the next couple of weeks.
“We’d be in a world of hurt … over coming weeks if we hadn’t done what we’ve done.”
Vic COVID-19 cases update
The state recorded 22 new locally-acquired infections on Wednesday morning, all of which are linked to known outbreaks.
Health Minister Martin Foley says 16 of the cases were isolating while infectious, and the remaining six pose a low risk to the community as they visited few exposure sites.
There are currently five people in hospital with COVID-19, including a man from Barwon Heads in intensive care.
The total number of active cases in the outbreak stands at 107, while there are 18,000 primary close contacts self-isolating across the state and more than 360 exposure sites.
A record 59,355 tests were processed on Tuesday, while 18,099 Victorians received a vaccine dose.
Victoria lockdown update
Victoria’s lockdown has been extended until at least 11.59pm on July 27, while permits to enter Victoria from red zones are suspended for two weeks.
Sutton said the spike in new cases despite lockdown was concerning, but the fact the majority of cases were self-isolating showed the state was curbing community transmission of the Delta variant.
“I’m confident that this is going in the right direction and we’re on track in terms of getting control of this,” he said.
He believed community transmission had peaked but expected more household cases to emerge.
He also warned the number of people in intensive care could grow.
“It is both a more infectious variant, the estimates are that it’s a more severe variant as well,” Sutton said.
Vic COVID-19 payments
To help soften the blow of the extension, the government is offering an additional $282.5 million in grants to 90,000 businesses.
Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund grants will increase from $3000 to $7200, while the Business Costs Assistance Program increases from $2000 to $4800.
Businesses and sole traders that received support during the fourth lockdown last month will automatically receive the funds to their chosen bank account.
Those who did apply, or who had been ineligible and have since become eligible, will be able to apply for a grant online.
Businesses in Victoria’s alpine region, the public events industry and community sporting clubs are also eligible for additional funds.
The federal and state governments are jointly funding income support for Victorians who have lost work or income due to the lockdown, the state’s fifth.
DH exposure sites
Victoria’s list of COVID-19 exposure sites has grown again with almost 20 new sites added on Wednesday night.
An IGA supermarket, a BWS store and a tram route are among the latest Tier 1 sites – which requires anyone who attended during the exposure period to get tested and isolate for 14-days, regardless of the result.
You can click here to see Victoria’s latest coronavirus exposure sites.
– with AAP