Snap lockdown set to continue

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VICTORIA’S snap lockdown will not be lifted yet, after the state recorded its fifth day of cases in double digits, and the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 spread further into regional Victoria.
While the lockdown was scheduled to end at 11.59pm on Tuesday night, any chance of an early reprieve for regional areas was dashed by a growing number of exposure sites at Phillip Island, Bacchus Marsh and now Mildura.
After 53,283 tests were processed in Victoria on Sunday, 13 locally acquired cases were announced on Monday morning, all linked to current outbreaks.
Fronting press just before noon on Monday, Premier Daniel Andrews announced the lockdown would not be lifted, but did not specify any new timeframe.
“I know it’s frustrating that I can’t stand here now and tell you exactly what rules and what time frame will apply beyond midnight tomorrow night,” he said.
“This lockdown will be on only for as long as it needs to be — not a moment longer — but I don’t want a situation where we fail to extinguish this, we fail to end these chains of transmission, only to open and then be closed again only a short time thereafter.”
He said more information would be provided after more test results were received from close contacts.
An announcement is expected on Tuesday.
There are still only five reasons to leave home — shopping for necessary goods and services; care and caregiving, including medical care, or to get a COVID-19 test; exercise; authorised work and permitted study; and to get a COVID-19 vaccination.
Victorians may leave home to visit their intimate partner, their single social bubble buddy, or in an emergency – including those at risk of family violence.
They must stay within five kilometres of their home for shopping and exercise.
Face masks must be worn indoors and outdoors whenever out of the home, but people do not need to wear masks indoors or outdoors if people are working alone.
On Sunday evening, it was announced there were eight exposure sites in the northern border town of Mildura, which recorded its first case of COVID-19 in 15 months.
The list of exposure sites at Phillip Island has grown to 24 – including 19 tier one sites — as thorough cleaning gets underway at the businesses involved.
More than 2000 tests were conducted at sites in Wonthaggi, Cowes, Leongatha and San Remo on Saturday, with all expedited tests returning negative results so far.
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Dr Brett Sutton said transmission from a case that contracted the virus some 30 hours prior at the Crafty Squire in Melbourne central business district showed how quickly the variant was spreading.
“Previously, last year, we would not have seen any circumstances where someone who had been exposed was transmitting less than a day and a half later, less than 48 hours later — it simply was not seen last year,” he said.
At the time the Gippsland Times went to print on Monday morning, there were more than 250 exposure sites listed online, with more than 40 in regional Victoria.
There were 72 locally-acquired active cases, and 15,800 primary close contacts in quarantine.
More than 3000 close contacts are linked to the MCG, 1800 linked to the AAMI Park outbreak, 2300 to Trinity Grammar, 2700 at Bacchus Marsh Grammar and 540 linked to Cremorne’s Ms Frankie restaurant.
Victorian exposure sites are updated several times a day, and can be found via www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/exposure-sites.
Those waiting for results from a COVID test must stay home and isolate until they receive a negative result. Any movements within the community are not permitted, including exercise.
People should organise for a friend or family member to deliver groceries, if necessary.
Local health authorities are warning people may be waiting up to 72 hours for results, given the sheer number of local tests conducted.
COVID-19 symptoms include fever, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath and loss or change in sense of smell or taste.
People who want to get tested locally should book an appointment with Wellington Respiratory Clinic by phoning 5143 7900 or visiting www.inglismedical.com.au/our-clinic/wellington-respiratory-clinic.