Daniel Andrews has confirmed Victoria will go into a snap lockdown from midnight tonight as authorities grapple with a spike in covid cases.
Victoria will enter a five-day snap lockdown from midnight tonight, Premier Daniel Andrews has confirmed.
“This is such a challenge that we must do this. You only get one chance to go hard and go fast. If you wait, if you hesitate, if you doubt, then you will always be looking back wishing you had done more earlier,” Mr Andrews told reporters.
“I am not prepared to avoid a five-day lockdown now only to find ourselves in a five-week or a five-month lockdown.”
This means there will be just five reasons to leave home and schools will close. The lockdown runs from 11.59pm tonight until 11.59pm next Tuesday. It will be the state’s fifth lockdown since the pandemic began and the third this year.
This is where the outbreaks stand across the country: NSW recorded 65 cases bringing the total to 929; Victoria recorded seven new cases today with a total of 18 infections; Queensland recorded three new cases.
Follow along for today’s top Covid-19 updates. You can find yesterday’s blog here.
Off the back of his press conference and lockdown announcement, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has released the list of people considered “authorised workers” (and are therefore allowed to leave home during the lockdown to perform their jobs).
You can find that list, as well as a detailed breakdown of the state’s restrictions – which come into effect at 11.59pm tonight – here.
“You all know the drill. If you were an authorised worker during the last lockdown, you’ll be an authorised worker this time around. Everyone else must work from home,” Mr Andrews said in a statement.
“We are counting on everyone to do the right thing. For our families, our businesses and our state – stay at home and keep everyone safe.”
Another expert has chimed in with concerns about transmission at the Geelong versus Carlton game over the weekend, with University of Melbourne epidemiologist Professor Tony Blakely telling ABC’s 7.30 it’s “a complete game changer”.
“At the beginning of the day I thought we wouldn’t have a lockdown, but that transmission at the MCG is a game changer, showing how quickly it’s moving,” he told host Laura Tingle.
“Five days [lockdown] is what I would have picked, the average enqueue period and hopefully be enough time to see what strains of the transmission are in the community, extinguished and give the contact tracers enough time to get ahead. Five days is what I would have picked.”
Asked whether the game could be the start of a super spreader event, Deakin University’s Professor Catherine Bennett said there is a risk “that you have had a lot of people exposed and these very casual exposures can lead to cases”.
“They’ve got a lot of work to figure out what crossover points there might have been between the case and those other unrelated people who have picked up the virus,” Professor Bennett said.
“They weren’t sitting close, they were outdoors. The question is whether they did have that opportunity as they made their way through the stands or to use facilities, where they might have had that connection…So we’re hoping we will find that crossover point, because otherwise there is that risk.”
Authorities in Tasmania have been holding a press conference at the same time as Victoria, announcing the latter state will be considered high-risk from midnight.
This means that anyone who has been in Victoria on or since July 8 will not be permitted to enter Tasmania unless given an exemption by the deputy state controller.
“We’re responding to where the risk is. Victoria are concerned about the risk and the need for their contact tracers to catch up,” Tasmania’s deputy director of public health, Scott McKeown, told reporters.
“We need to see what risks and cases emerge over coming days.”
New Zealand has paused quarantine-free travel from Victoria in light of the state’s most recent outbreak, with the measure coming into play from 1.59am (NZT) tomorrow, July 16.
The pause will be reviewed on Monday, July 19, the nation’s government said.
“Anyone who has been in the state of Victoria after 1.59am (NZT) on Friday, July 16 cannot travel to New Zealand from anywhere in Australia until further notice,” a statement said.
“If you have been at a location of interest, you cannot travel to New Zealand from anywhere in Australia until 14 days after you were at the location of interest.”
Those currently in New Zealand who have been at a location of interest need to self-isolate at their home or accomodation and call Heathline on 0800 358 5453 for advice on self-isolating and testing.
“We acknowledge the frustration and inconvenience…but given the ongoing level of uncertainty around transmission in Melbourne, this is the right action to take,” New Zealand’s Covid-19 response minister, Chris Hipkins, said.
An aged care facility in Sydney’s Rooty Hill is in lockdown after a worker tested positive.
A female contract cleaner worked at Minchinbury Manor – where 90 per cent of staff and residents are thought to be fully vaccinated – earlier this week.
STATEMENT: A worker at the Minchinbury Manor aged care facility has tested positive to Covid-19.
It’s believed the contract cleaner was infectious for 2 days – July 13 and July 14. The facility is being deep cleaned.
All residents are now being tested on site. @9NewsAUS https://t.co/CVvAZQ2ZIC
— Chris O’Keefe (@cokeefe9) July 15, 2021
It’s believed the cleaner was infectious for two days, on July 13 and 14, and that five close contacts of her in the facility have been immediately isolated.
“We anticipate the remaining few residents and staff, who are not vaccinated, will be offered the vaccine again in the facility following the positive case. To date, no other staff member or resident in the facility has shown a positive result,” the centre said in a statement.
“Minchinbury Manor has had strict Covid-safe measures in place since March, 2020, as part of our stringent health and safety protocols.
“These protocols have now been escalated since reports of the test result and include the extensive cleaning of all areas utilising a bio-misting process, continued Covid-testing and the full lockdown of the facility to visitors.”