The Victorian government has announced a snap lockdown following local health authorities reporting 11 new community cases of COVID-19 overnight.
Acting Premier James Merlino announced the state will enter a snap seven-day circuit breaker lockdown in an effort to curb further transmission as the outbreak reaches 34 active cases.
“In the last day, we have seen 12 linked new cases (one was reported yesterday), bringing the total number of cases linked to the hotel quarantine breach in South Australia to 26,” Merlino said.
Cases have doubled overnight
What is of immediate concern to health authorities is the outbreak seems to be of a highly infectious strain of the virus.
“It is running faster than we have ever recorded,” said Merlino.
“From first thing this morning, we have identified in excess of 10,000 primary and secondary contacts who will need to either quarantine, or test and isolate, and that number will continue to grow and change. Public health experts are concerned at how fast this variant is moving.”
Merlino said contact tracers had already locked down the first ring, second ring and third ring of contacts within 24 hours and identified over 150 exposure sites.
“Yet despite working as fast as this, this variant is moving faster still. The times between catching the virus and onset of symptoms is averaging just over a day. Usual transmission is within five days.”
Vaccine rollout and hotel quarantine failures in the spotlight
Merlino suggested the state would be in a very different position should the vaccine rollout have progressed at pace.
“Vaccine rollout has been slower than we hoped and if more people were vaccinated we might face a different set of circumstances.”
The acting premier also took aim at the hotel quarantine system
“If we had an alternative to hotel for this particular variant of concern, we would not be here today.
“If we had the vaccine, the Commonwealth’s vaccine program effectively rolled out, we may well not be here today.”
Vaccinations open to over 40s from tomorrow
Merlino suggested the best defence against the virus was for more people to get vaccinated and as such he announced the state government would be opening up its vaccination program to include those aged 40-49.
“From tomorrow morning, vaccinations at state sites will be expanded to include those in the 40 to 49-year-old age group, for the Pfizer vaccine. In terms of GPs, that will be a decision of the Commonwealth, but in terms of the state sites that we run, we’ll be expanding it to 40 to 49.”
When you can leave the house
From 1159pm tonight until Vic will 1159pm on June 3 Victorians can only leave their house for five reasons.
- Shopping for essentials (within 5km radius)
- Authorised essential work
- Exercise (2hr limit) with one other person
- Caregiving for compassionate reasons
- The fifth reason is to get vaccinated
Masks must be worn everywhere other than your own home unless you are exempt.
What you can and can’t do from midnight
No visitors to your home other than an intimate partner. Single bubbles will be permitted. If you live alone, you can make a bubble with another person.
No public gatherings.
Restaurants, pubs, and cafes can provide takeaway only.
Essential retail: supermarkets, food stores, petrol stations, banks, bottle shops and pharmacies can trade as usual, other retail stores can provide click and collect.
Childcare and kindergartens will be open as per the last circuit breaker lockdown earlier this year.
Approved professional sporting events will proceed but proceed without crowds.
Schools will move to remote learning, except for vulnerable children, and children of authorised workers.
Higher education will move to remote learning only.
Hotels, clubs, TABs and the casino will be closed.
Indoor and outdoor entertainment venues, swimming pools, spas, saunas, indoor and outdoor springs, community venues, drive in cinemas, amusements parks and arcades, creative studios, art galleries and museums, tourism, tours, and transport, and auctions can only happen online.
Aged care facilities, no visitors allowed except for limited reasons.
In hospitals, visitors only for end of life, to support a partner during birth, or a parent accompanying a child.
In terms of ceremonies, funerals, capped at maximum of 10 people plus those running the service.
Weddings cannot proceed unless for end of life or deportation reasons.
Religious activities will not proceed other than through broadcast with a maximum of five people.
This post originally appeared on Kochie’s Business Builders. You can read it here.