Australia

Victoria’s lockdown extended by one week as Daniel Andrews says ‘we need more time’ to suppress COVID-19 outbreak

Victoria’s lockdown will be extended for another week as the state continues the fight to suppress its outbreak of COVID-19.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed the five-day lockdown would be extended until 27 July at a press conference on Tuesday.

“We need more time. That is why on the advice of the chief health officer we will extend these lockdowns for a further seven days,” he told reporters. 

“We can’t run the risk that there are cases out there that we don’t know about.”

The state recorded 13 new local COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, including one mystery case, from almost 50,000 tests. Nine of the cases were in isolation.

The outbreak, which originated from NSW, now totals 85 active cases – there are 18,000 identified close contacts in the community. 

This includes a third of primary contacts in regional Victoria, including sites on Phillip Island in the south of the state, Bacchus Marsh, Barwon Heads and Mildura in the northwest.

Meanwhile, Business Victoria has apologised after a “technical issue” meant businesses seeking lockdown support were given an estimated call-back time of up to 17 hours.

Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien labelled it a “disgrace” and called for the problem to be rectified.

But a Business Victoria spokesperson said only those who selected the call-back option heard the estimate, with live calls on Monday answered within 10 to 20 minutes.

An extra 30 call-takers have been put on to cope with high demand and some $180.8 million in lockdown payments to 86,069 businesses had been approved by 2pm on Monday.

– With AAP.

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