In an effort to contain the state’s escalating coronavirus outbreak, the Victorian government has announced a seven-day lockdown.
The outbreak in the state has now grown to 26 instances, with 11 more cases reported overnight.
Around 14,000 Victorians must either quarantine for 14 days or be tested and isolated until the results are negative.
One of the patients was on a ventilator at the hospital, but they were taken out of intensive care on Thursday night, according to reports.
The person in ICU, according to Health Minister Martin Foley, was “an older individual” who was one of the outbreak’s first instances.
“We send our best wishes and prayers for a speedy recovery to that family,” he said.
“According to my understanding, approximately 50% of over-70-year-olds have been vaccinated in the last few days. Unfortunately, this was not one of the 50%.”
One of the 26 cases in Victoria, according to the ABC, exhibited symptoms for six days before being tested and was out in the community.
Another had to wait ten days to be tested.
Contact tracers had identified 10,000 primary and secondary contacts associated to the outbreak, according to Acting Premier James Merlino.
The circuit-breaker lockout will last until June 3 at 11:59 p.m.
Mr Merlino stated that only five factors would allow people to leave their homes:
- Food and supplies.
- Authorized work.
- Care and caregiving.
- Exercise for up to two hours with one other person.
- Getting vaccinated.
For the length of the lockdown, schools will be closed, while childcare and kindergartens will remain open.
Mr. Merlino, whose main responsibility has been education, said he had directed his department to set aside Friday as a pupil-free day to assist schools in preparing for remote learning next week.
Cafes and restaurants will only be able to serve take-out, and no public or private meetings will be permitted.
People would be required to exercise and shop within 5 kilometers of their houses, and masks will be required to be worn whenever outside the home unless an exemption is granted.
Other than close couples, no guests will be permitted.
The government’s website has a complete list of the restrictions.
There’s a fear that the viral strain will become ‘uncontrollable.’
The virus was spreading at an alarming rate, according to Mr Merlino, triggering the lockdown.
“We’ve seen further indications in the last day that we’re dealing with a highly infectious strain of the virus, a variety of concern that is spreading quicker than we’ve ever seen,” he said.
“The period between contracting a virus and transmitting it is shorter than it has ever been, so in some of the examples, I’ve cited… The serial interval, or the time between the development of symptoms in the primary and secondary cases, is slightly over a day on average.”
“Unless something spectacular happens, this is going to get progressively out of hand.”
Brett Sutton, Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, said the fact that all of the newly identified cases are linked is “quite comforting.”
He stated, “We know where transmission occurred.”
“There’s the identifiable workplace, and the others are connected families and informal connections to the City of Whittlesea epidemic.”
“So that’s extremely reassuring, it’s excellent contact tracing work again, but it’s also about people sharing very comprehensive information about where they’ve been so that we can establish those connections appropriately,” says the researcher.
Victoria’s vaccination program will be expanded to include those aged 40 to 49.
After a flood of calls earlier Thursday, when state officials increased the eligibility criteria to include 40- to 49-year-olds, the hotline used by Victorians to book a COVID jab crashed.
The Pfizer vaccination will be available to adults aged 40 to 49, while those aged 50 and up will continue to receive the AstraZeneca vaccination.
More than 77,000 calls were placed in a 15-minute period, causing a slew of technical problems with the hotline.
Authorities have agreed to increase their resources.
In a statement, the Department expressed its gratitude for everyone’s enthusiasm and patience.
The Acting Premier slammed the federal government, claiming that the lockdown could have been averted if the Commonwealth’s vaccination rollout had been better.
“We might not be here today talking about these circuit-breaker restrictions that we must implement to keep our community safe if the Commonwealth’s immunization program had been adequately pushed out,” he said.
Victoria could vaccinate 30,000 people every day, with the potential to reach 100,000 if vaccine supply to GPs is boosted, according to Professor Sutton.
On Tuesday, approximately 16,000 people were vaccinated at state-run centers in Victoria, and 12,677 people were vaccinated yesterday.
Mr. Merlino said there were more than 150 exposure locations presently, including the MCG and Docklands Stadium, but that many of them were not yet registered on the health department’s website.
Cafes and businesses in Melbourne’s southeast and the Mornington Peninsula were among the new exposure locations added Friday night.
Previously, exposure locations were primarily located in the city’s north and west.
Professor Sutton added that while some firms are telling clients that they are an exposure site before being listed on the health department’s website, this is not a concern.
“It’s completely legitimate for firms to contact all of their clients and consumers when they realize they’re an exposure site, given the means they have,” he said.
Professor Sutton explained that while authorities double-checked facts, there was sometimes a delay between a business being alerted and appearing on the public list.
Melbourne has been designated as a Commonwealth COVID-19 hotspot, which means that employees and the elderly would receive additional federal assistance.
“As part of the combined Commonwealth and state response,” Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Paul Kelly, said, “we have reactivated… the Victorian Aged Care Response Centre.”
As the number of people exposed to the virus grows, testing capacity is being increased across the state.
In the 24 hours leading up to midnight, 40,411 test results were received.
More than 41,000 test results were submitted on August 9 last year, and more than 42,000 on July 26 this year, making it one of the busiest days of testing in Victoria since the pandemic began.
Businesses are being subjected to yet another round of lockdowns.
Business owners are already worried about how the lockout will affect them, especially since the Job Keeper wage subsidy program is ending.
Cafe owner Johnny Vakalis claimed the shutdown occurred just as his firm was resuming normal operations following the disruptions of 2020.
He added, “A week like this may set you back a month.”
“We were full last week, and now we’re empty, and there’s a large gap there that needs to be filled.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison endorsed the seven-day curfew and praised Victorian contact tracers for their “outstanding work.”
“The next seven days in Victoria will be very trying,” Mr Morrison said.
“Of course, we are quite conscious of the hardship and difficulties that this would impose on people right throughout Victoria as a result of what is being termed, properly, I believe, by the Acting Premier as a circuit-breaking lockdown.”
“And a seven-day lockdown, which hopefully won’t last as long as the Acting Premier intimated to me earlier this morning when we spoke.”
Victoria’s limits, according to Health Minister Greg Hunt, are “very disappointing but necessary.”
- victoria covid outbreak: Herald Sun