Next 48 hours crucial in Victoria
The state seems to be inching towards a snap lockdown similar to the one on Valentine’s Day. Although all 13 cases in Victoria have been traced back to the South Australian Hotel Quarantine infection, there is the “missing mystery link” which is still eluding the authorities. The state Health experts believe – the person may be infected carrying the heavy load but exhibiting no symptoms and thus – not contemplating or realising the need to get tested. The risk, till that person is tracked down and isolated cannot be over accentuated. For the state and thus Australian economy, it is a ticking time bomb.
Acting Premier James Merlion and Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton have now confirmed six locally acquired cases.
That brings the latest outbreak to 15 cases, all of which are linked and are believed to have stemmed from the hotel quarantine breach in South Australia. The contact tracers are desperately looking for the “missing link”.
A total of 301 primary close contacts have been identified from the outbreak, and about 80 of those – have returned as negative. The rest 221 are waiting for their test results expected later today.
Those dreading another lockdown, James Merlino could not rule out taking “further action” in terms of restrictions, adding that the next 24 hours will be “critical”.
The state government is organizing setting up of additional testing sites across the Victoria.
The source of this current outbreak in Victoria is a Wollert man who after returning from overseas spent two weeks in hotel quarantine in South Australia and returned to Victoria in early May. The man then tested positive but unbeknown to him, had already passed it on to others.
The authorities say genomic sequencing has confirmed the cases in the new cluster are all linked to that Wollert man.
“Not out of control”
Speaking on the local ABC radio, Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the outbreak was “not out of control” but he was “alive to the possibility” of more positive cases in the coming days.
“We have to chase down every single close contact,” he told ABC Radio Melbourne.
“People have to do the right thing with the new restrictions coming in but it’s certainly not out of control.”
Trusting the contact tracers, Professor Sutton said testing and tracing of all primary close contacts and their contacts will “mitigate the risk of transmission“.
Other experts are canvassing local or zonal lockdowns till the “missing link” is found and isolated to give some comfort to Victorians apprehending any city wide snap lockdown.
To check the current list of Victoria’s COVID exposure sites, click here.
More to come.