Covid-19: Victoria stuck in lockdown limbo as 12 new cases detected

Brett Sutton has remained cautiously optimistic about Victoria’s restrictions lifting despite another dozen community cases.

Victoria will remain in limbo until Tuesday after 12 new local cases were recorded overnight, but state officials have remained optimistic that the fifth lockdown will end on schedule.

All 12 cases have been linked to the current outbreaks, with 10 of the positive cases in quarantine during their infectious period. The total number of cases in Victoria from the latest outbreak now sits at 158.

“We’re all working hard to get the rules off,” Premier Dan Andrews said on Friday. “It’s very difficult for us on Friday to be able to predict what will happen on Tuesday at midnight, but I would say that the trend is with us.

“The trend is good … these results are very encouraging, they are positive … whether the next few days continue that way, we’ll only know with the passage of time.”

The fact all new cases have been linked is good news for Victorians in limbo, but chief health officer Brett Sutton has still warned citizens to remain “open minded” about the risk of another cluster spinning out of control.

“I feel like we‘re on track,” Dr Sutton told the media regarding lockdown restrictions lifting. “There’s no magic number. There never will be. The key aim is to have no new exposure sites.”

The CHO last night declared the entirety of NSW an “extreme risk zone”, which has been backdated 14 days from 9 July.

“Victorian residents returning from a red zone who have been in an extreme risk zone in the last 14 days can only enter Victoria with an exemption, exception or another valid permit such as a specified worker permit,” Dr Sutton said.

“The number of people moving about in the community when infectious, as I say, is trending down, which is a good thing. That‘s a critical part of stopping the virus,” Health Minister Martin Foley told the media on Saturday.

Victoria administered 19,281 vaccination doses in the previous 24 hour period.

Contact tracers identified that 75 per cent of the new cases were in complete isolation and were unable to spread the virus to the community.

Mr Andrews called for a “ring of steel” to be placed around Sydney to ensure the NSW outbreak doesn’t make its way across borders again. NSW recorded 163 new cases on Saturday, the biggest day since the recent Delta strain outbreak in the nation’s biggest metro.

The situation was declared a “national emergency” this week, with the Greater Sydney region told to expect an “indefinite” lockdown until community cases recede to zero.

“Sydney is on fire with this virus and we need a ring of steel put around Sydney,” Mr Andrews said.

“The last thing I want is Victorians to see off this second Delta outbreak only to have further incursions because what’s going on in Sydney is not being contained to ­Sydney.”

Mr Andrews said on Friday the state was tracking in the right direction with “very encouraging” case numbers.

The Premier predicted students would return to schools on Wednesday if the lockdown was not extended.

“We’re all working hard to get the rules off,” the Premier said. “It’s very difficult for us on Friday to be able to predict what will happen on Tuesday at midnight, but I would say that the trend is with us.

“The trend is good … these results are very encouraging, they are positive … whether the next few days continue that way, we’ll only know with the passage of time.”

Meanwhile, anti-lockdown protesters have gathered to oppose Victoria’s fifth lockdown, announcing their rally location just one hour before commencing.

The Herald Sun reports dozens of Victoria Police officers are patrolling busy train stations and street across Melbourne’s CBD. Several locations across Melbourne have been tipped as potential meeting points for the rally, including Flagstaff Gardens and the Bolte Bridge.

The full list of restrictions in place in Victoria until Tuesday can be viewed below.

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