Covid 19 coronavirus: Victoria records 13 new cases, lockdown likely to be extended

Victoria’s fifth lockdown will likely be extended until Friday with fears it could be prolonged even further after the state’s outbreak grew by another 13 community cases today.

The growing list of exposure sites has already topped 250 venues and experts suggest that the five-day lockdown that was set to end at 11.59pm on Tuesday will be pushed out.

Health chiefs and senior ministers in the state will reportedly make the final call on an extension within the next 24-hours.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said yesterday it was too early to say if the lockdown would end as planned.

Two of yesterday’s cases were rugby fans who attended AAMI Park on Tuesday to watch the Wallabies versus France clash.

Another was detected in Mildura in the state’s northwest, a development Andrews said was evidence of how fast and far the Delta variant could spread.

Dozens of new venues were listed as exposures sites overnight, including several bars and restaurants in Melbourne’s inner north, South Melbourne Market stores and a CBD McDonalds.

Several train services were also added, along with a number of venues in Mildura after yesterday’s positive case.

Andrews said contact tracers had so far been able to link all new cases to existing clusters, meaning the outbreak was “unfolding as hoped”.

“The fact we’re finding people and getting to people as quickly as we are is clear evidence of how hard our contact tracing team is working … they’re doing a great job for all of us,” he said.

However, the expanding list of exposure sites meant the government was not in a position to say when restrictions would lift – even in regional areas.

“It is too early for us to determine whether we will be able to come out of this lockdown on Tuesday night,” he said.

“I know it’s frustrating, but this virus can reach you as we can see in this Mildura case,” he said. “I will not release any area of the state [from lockdown] unless I have advice to do so. I do not have that advice.

“Everyone is in until midnight Tuesday unless we announce a change.”

Public health expert Professor Bill Bowtell said the trajectory of Victoria’s outbreak showed that the state’s snap lockdown was more effective than NSW’s method.

“The [cases] are all linked, so that is a tremendous achievement,” he said. “Of course, they went into the lockdown to bring about this type of outcome. Short and sharp. And let’s hope it can end very soon.

“I am sure they don’t want what we are going through in Sydney now, which is this long, drawn out process to come to the inevitable conclusion that we should have moved quicker and faster and harder sooner.”

Quarantine-free travel from Victoria to New Zealand was paused at 1.59am (NZT) on Friday.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said that decision followed updated public health advice from New Zealand officials.

The pause would run for at least four days from 1.59am (NZT) July 16 and be subject to further review today.

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