Victoria’s new local coronavirus cases rises to 17 with residents told to brace for longer lockdown

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews says it is too early to tell whether there will be an extension of the state’s five-day COVID-19 lockdown.

The premier said on Sunday the state was not seeing any new chains of transmission opening up and the outbreak was unfolding as the government “hoped it would”.

“This lockdown won’t be on any longer than it needs to be,” Mr Andrews said.

Victoria recorded 16 new locally acquired cases in the 24 hours to midnight on Saturday but authorities advised there had been an extra case added in the hour before Sunday’s press conference.

The additional case was a man in Mildura who had presented at hospital with COVID-19 symptoms after he attended the Carlton-Geelong AFL match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground last Saturday.

When asked whether regional areas might be out of lockdown sooner than other places, the premier said he had no advice to shorten the lockdown for anybody.

There were 53,283 test results returned during the last 24-hour reporting period and 16,751 vaccines administered in Victoria.

Victoria has also recorded two new infections acquired overseas, currently in hotel quarantine, bringing the total number of active cases to 71.

The locally acquired cases are all linked to the current outbreaks and Victoria’s health department said it is engaging with six schools after they were linked to positive cases.

On Saturday authorities estimated there were 10,000 “primary close contacts” in Victoria and by Sunday morning had identified 217 potential COVID-19 exposure sites across the state.

Some of the exposure sites and close contacts have spread to regional Victoria.

Sites of concern include pubs, clubs, restaurants, sporting venues, shopping centres, schools and gyms in metropolitan Melbourne, suburbs and multiple locations at Phillip Island, a two-hour drive south of Melbourne.

An international rugby match has also been listed as an exposure site.

The growing list of sites and restrictions can be found here

A stay-at-home order is due to expire at midnight on Tuesday, but could be extended based on data including case numbers and exposure sites, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said.

“Every Victorian needs to ready themselves for what might emerge over the next 24/48 hours,” he said on Saturday.

“All I can say is the response couldn’t have been better. The judgements that have been made around a hard and fast lockdown have been the right ones. And that’s got us on a good track.

“We’ve got settings in place until Tuesday midnight and we will make another assessment every day over the next three days.”

Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said the state looks forward to the Commonwealth’s vaccination program push.

“I don’t think it’s a state secret that we are a long way behind where we should be in the vaccination program,” he told reporters on Saturday.

“That is one of the factors that has helped shape the public health team’s decision to go hard and go early (with a lockdown), because you cannot protect Victorians with what is, I think, 12 per cent of Victorians vaccinated.”

Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania have imposed border restrictions with Victoria.

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