— Health

Victorian lockdown extension call looms amid mounting evidence of ‘stranger-to-stranger’ COVID-19 transmission

A final call on extending Victoria’s “circuit breaker” lockdown could soon be handed down after the state government and health officials reportedly discussed options into the night. Entering day six of the statewide shutdown, alarm bells ring after a newly identified COVID-19 case traveled between Victoria and NSW and mounting evidence of “stranger-to-stranger transmission”.

COVID-19 testing commander Jeroen Weimar said there were four to five instances in the state’s latest 54-case outbreak of people contracting the virus from “fleeting contact”. “They do not know each other’s names, which is very different from what we have seen before,” Mr. Weimar told reporters on Tuesday. Health Minister Martin Foley said the current variant’s heightened infectiousness and faster spread would factor into the decision to extend the seven-day lockdown beyond Thursday.

According to media reports, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton’s public health team was strongly leaning toward recommending a lockdown extension as senior government ministers met to receive a high-level briefing on Tuesday night. “That is one of a range of pieces of evidence the chief health officer, and his team will weigh carefully,” he said. A state government spokeswoman declined to confirm details to AAP, but a final call could be ticked off as early as Wednesday morning. The concerning spread of a variant first detected in India has also prompted authorities to encourage visitors to 14 shopping hubs across Melbourne over the past two weeks to come forward for testing.


“We are now keen to start to drain the swamp to see what else is out there,” Mr. Weimar said.

“Is there anybody else out there we haven’t caught? Is there anybody else not caught by exposure sites?”

There are more than 320 exposure sites across the state and 4800 primary close contacts, with 75 percent of those returning a negative test.

Victorian aged care and disability workers can jump the queue at ten vaccination centers across the state from Wednesday as part of a five-day jab blitz. Express lanes exclusively for aged care and disability staff will open from 9 am to 4 pm, with workers needing proof of employment. It follows the three-case Arcare Maidstone outbreak, now genomically linked to a South Australian hotel quarantine leak, exposing gaps in private aged care vaccinations among workers and residents. In Senate estimates on Tuesday, it emerged that less than 10 percent of nursing home staff across Australia had been vaccinated through federal government visits.

Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

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