Victoria won’t ‘snap back’ to normal when lockdown is due to end in Melbourne on Thursday, Victoria’s chief health officer Brett Sutton has warned.
Dr Sutton made the admission while speaking on Monday – where it was also announced the state had reported just 11 new cases of Covid-19, all of which are linked to known cases with eight already in isolation before testing positive.
Melburnians have been waiting patiently to come out of lockdown after restrictions were extended for another week last Thursday.
It came as the state grapples with its latest Covid-19 outbreak, which now sits at 94 active cases with 81 cases linked to an outbreak across four Melbourne clusters.
Dr Sutton said it was too early to determine which restrictions would finally be lifted and what a lockdown-free Melbourne would like – but insisted no matter what some rules would remain.
‘It’s frustrating,’ he said. ‘People want to know what things will look like three days from now.’
‘We see different changes every day and they can be something from left field, there can be something very short in terms of new linkages, no wastewater deductions, no new exposure sides, we need to see it play out,’ he said.
Victoria’s chief health officer Brett Sutton has warned the state will not ‘snap back’ to normal when lockdown is expected to ease in Melbourne on Thursday
Melburnians have been waiting patiently to come out of lockdown after restrictions were extended for another week last Thursday
When asked about the upcoming long weekend, Dr Sutton said it won’t look like a normal holiday weekend – as he urged millions to stay vigilant.
‘The long weekends should have the same messages for everyone,’ he said.
‘It is certainly not a snap back to large gatherings and a full MCG. People need to consider all of those key messages around isolating if they have symptoms and getting tested and all of the other messages that we have.’
All the 11 new cases that were reported on Monday have been locally acquired and linked to previous clusters, meaning no new dreaded mystery cases.
Victoria has recorded 11 new Covid-19 cases as it approaches decision day for whether Melbourne’s strict lockdown will be lifted as planned on Thursday (pictured, Melburnians line up outside a vaccination hub)
Four of the new cases were linked to the West Melbourne cluster and included three children and an adult – bringing the total to 14.
Three were linked to the Whittlesea cluster, bringing the total to 32, and three to the Arcare Maidstone aged care facility, raising the total to nine.
The last case has been connected to the Port Melbourne construction site, raising the total to 31.
Eight of the 11 new cases had been quarantining before they tested positive to Covid-19.
It comes after 24,265 tests were received and 17,719 vaccine doses were administered at state-run sites in the last 24 hours.
Dr Sutton said health authorities had to take the outbreak on a day by day basis before considering what restrictions could be eased.
‘As I’ve always said, we’re looking at numbers every day, and we make those decisions on a day by day basis,’ he said.
‘Today brought some positive signs – nine of 11 cases are effectively in quarantine, not many new exposure sites. And we are releasing a number of primary close contacts.’
State Health Minister Martin Foley said he acknowledged it had been a difficult time for Victorians and reminded them that the fight to beat the latest outbreak was not yet over.
‘We do know that this has been a tough period for Victorians,’ he said.
‘We do know there are many challenges if we are going to stick together and get through this challenging period. These figures give us confidence that all the cases are linked.
‘But as part of the way ahead, there is still much to do and still much to do about making sure we bring all Victorians along that journey.’
Victoria’s Health Minister Martin Foley said on Monday all the new cases were locally acquired and linked to previous clusters
The return to double digit infections was the highest number for 11 days, and comes as six train services were added to the state’s growing exposure list – bringing the total to an overwhelming 354 venues (pictured, Covid-19 testing clinic on Bourke Street in Melbourne)
The new locally acquired cases were announced on Monday and include two that were reported yesterday and linked to the Arcare Maidstone aged care facility, including a 70-year-old resident (pictured, healthcare workers outside the aged care facility)
Mr Foley admitted lockdowns were ‘not great’ for anyone: ‘They have all sorts of impacts, which is why we don’t want anyone to be there for a moment they don’t have to be.’
‘We need to make sure we get on top of this outbreak as quickly as we can get back to the kind of 86 continuous days of community free transmission that we did have in this state and get the people, the mental health, families, schools, and businesses back operating safely as quickly as we can.’
Dr Sutton was also asked to respond on the severity of the lockdown following previous comments from prime minister Scott Morrison.
Mr Morrison had suggested Victoria should consider only locking down certain parts of the state in the future.
‘No one has handled similar outbreaks,’ Dr Sutton said. ‘Outbreaks previously across the country have often been single cases who have had some community exposures.
‘We have seen a circuit breaker lockdowns, it is not as though they haven’t occurred, they have occurred a couple of times in Perth, a couple of times in Brisbane, with single cases or just a couple of cases.’
Six train services running along the Upfield Line have also been listed as Tier Two exposure sites, joining busy supermarkets and shopping centres on the swelling list (pictured, the Covid-19 positive case had caught the train to Flinders Street Station)
That’s Alotta Donuts at 2/882 Cooper Street in Somerton, north of Melbourne, has been added to the list
Chick Chick/ Sir Duke at 97-99 Puckle Street at Moonee Ponds was also placed on the list with a confirmed case visiting from 3.10pm to 3.40pm on May 30
Health authorities have also added six train services to Victoria’s Covid-19 exposure list, which now sits at 354.
Six train services running along the Upfield Line were listed as Tier Two exposure sites, joining busy supermarkets and shopping centres.
Health authorities made the announcement on Sunday after discovering a confirmed case had travelled on the public transport system.
A doughnut store, construction site, restaurant and BP have also been added to the growing list.
The Covid-19 positive commuter had travelled from Merlynston Station to Flinders Street Station from 6.03am to 6.34am on June 2, 3, and 4.
They then later travelled from Melbourne Central Station to Merlynston from 3.55pm to 4.19pm on the same days.
Anyone who caught the train around the same time has been urged to get tested for Covid-19 and isolate until they receive a negative result.
Chief health officer Brett Sutton admitted it will not be a total ‘snap back’ to normal when restrictions are lifted in Melbourne on Thursday (pictured, residents lining up outside a vaccination hub)
Health officials have warned there is no ‘magic number’ of people getting vaccinated before future coronavirus lockdowns can be avoided (pictured, Melburnians queuing to get the Covid jab on Saturday)
The train services are the latest addition to Victoria’s exposure list that now sits at 354.
That’s Alotta Donuts at 2/882 Cooper Street in Somerton, north of Melbourne, has been added to the list.
A confirmed case visited the venue between 4.10pm and 5.20pm on May 30.
Probuild Construction Site at 100 Queen Street, in Melbourne, has also been flagged as a tier 1 exposure site after a worker tested positive to Covid-19.
Anyone who was at the venue from 7am to 4pm on May 30 and 31, June 1, 2 and 3 has been told to get tested.
The same advice applies to anyone who visited the site between 7am and 12.30pm on June 4.
Chick Chick (Fried Chicken)/ Sir Duke at 97-99 Puckle Street at Moonee Ponds was also placed on the list with a confirmed case visiting from 3.10pm to 3.40pm on May 30.
BP/David Jones Food Merrifield at 470 Donnybrook Road at Mickleham was also added to the list.
Anyone who visited the venue between 5.40pm and 6.10pm on May 30 has been advised to get tested.
Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said it was difficult to say what proportion would need to be vaccinated to avoid future lockdowns
LATEST COVID-19 EXPOSURE SITES
Health authorities added on the weekend several new venues to Victoria’s list of exposure sites, which now sits at 354.
Below is a list of venues that have been added to the list as well as the times that they were visited by confirmed Covid-19 cases.
1) Upfield Line:
-Merlynston Station to Flinders Street Station from 6.03am to 6.34am on June 2
-Melbourne Central Station to Merlynston Station from 3.55pm to 4.19pm on June 2
-Merlynston Station to Flinders Street Station from 6.03am to 6.34am on June 3
-Melbourne Central Station to Merlynston Station from 3.55pm to 4.19pm on June 3
-Merlynston Station to Flinders Street Station from 6.03am to 6.34am on June 4
-Melbourne Central Station to Merlynston Station on from 3.55pm to 4.19pm June 4.
2) That’s Alotta Donuts at 2/882 Cooper St in Somerton from 4.10pm and 5.20pm on May 30.
3) Probuild Construction Site at 100 Queen St from 7am to 4pm on May 30 and 31, June 1, 2 and 3, and 7am to 12.30pm on June 4.
4) Chick Chick (Fried Chicken)/Sir Duke at 97-99 Puckle St, Moonee Ponds from 3.10pm to 3.40pm on May 30.
5) BP/David Jones Food Merrifield at 470 Donnybrook Road, Mickleham from 5.40pm to 6.10pm on May 30.
6) Fish Pier at Craigieburn Central on 340 Craigieburn Road, Craigieburn, between 4pm an 5.30pm on May 31.
7) Pinoy Tayo Asian Grocery Craigieburn Central on 340 Craigieburn Rd, Craigieburn, between 4pm an 5.30pm on May 31.
8) HS Quality Food at Craigieburn Central on 340 Craigieburn Rd, Craigieburn, between 4pm an 5.30pm on May 31.
9) Fergusson Plarre Bakehouse at Craigieburn Central on 340 Craigieburn Rd, Craigieburn, between 4pm an 5.30pm on May 31.
10) Quality Fresh Meats at Craigieburn Central on 340 Craigieburn Rd, Craigieburn, between 4pm an 5.30pm on May 31.
11) BP Greenvale on 910 Mickleham Rd at Greenvale between 5:25pm – 5:58pm on June 2.
View a full list of the exposure sites at: https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/exposure-sites
The new venues were added as the state recorded just four new local cases on Sunday, including two linked to the Arcare Maidstone aged care facility in the city’s northwest.
One is a 79-year-old resident who has had both doses of the Pfizer vaccine. They live close to two other residents, aged 99 and 89, who have previously tested positive.
Despite being asymptomatic, the resident has been taken to hospital.
The other case is a registered nurse who worked at the nursing home on Saturday, is also asymptomatic and has received a first COVID-19 shot.
Victorians have been warned there is no ‘magic number’ of people getting vaccinated that would guarantee the government stops using lockdowns to control future outbreaks of coronavirus.
The current lockdown – Victoria’s fourth in 14 months – was scheduled to end on Thursday but the continued emergence of new cases in the current small outbreak raised the prospect it will be extended.
Professor Cheng said it was difficult to say what proportion would need to be vaccinated to avoid future lockdowns.
Melburnians are experiencing their fourth lockdown within 14 months. Pictured is a deserted Federation Square on Saturday
‘There isn’t one single magic number,’ Professor Cheng said.
‘Once you get up to much higher coverage rates, then it makes a whole lot of things easier.
‘We may not need the intensity of restrictions. We may be able to only do contact tracing without having to do other things quite to the same level, and that is the benefit of vaccination.’
Victoria had administered 1.4 million doses of vaccine in a state with a population of 6.5 million.
Professor Cheng expects Melbourne will be able to ease restrictions on Friday.
‘We don’t want to be in this any longer than we need to. So if we can, we will lift it early,’ he said.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt on Sunday announced an additional 100,000 vaccines are being made available for Victoria.
The federal government has also extended its suspension of JobSeeker mutual obligation requirements until June 15.
Victoria had administered 1.4 million doses of vaccine in a state with a population of 6.5 million (pictured, healthcare workers at the Arcare aged care facility at Maidstone)