Victoria’s lockdown 6.0 has been extended by a week amid fears about a growing number of mystery infections in the community.
Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed the extension after Victoria reported another 20 local infections with 5 of those not linked to existing outbreaks in Melbourne.
Only 14 of the 20 recorded cases had been in quarantine throughout their infectious period.
Mr Andrews said the latest mystery cases only added to “the number of unanswered questions out there”.
“That’s why sadly today the cabinet of the government … [has] determined to accept the advice of the chief health officer to
extend for a further period of seven days, until 11.59pm next Thursday (August 19),” he said.
“This is very challenging, I know, for every single Victorian who would like to be going about their business. They would like to be open and have a degree of freedom that is simply not possible because of this Delta variant.”
In line with tightening its border rules from 1pm Wednesday, Victoria will requirethe NSW residents in the border bubble to get a permit if they travel into the state.
Due to the current level of community transmission of coronavirus in Victoria from the recent NSW incursions, the CHO has declared that the current lockdown across Melbourne will be extended until at least 11.59pm 19 Aug, to stamp out this Delta variant and keep Victorians safe. pic.twitter.com/KWzMWWK3ZT
— Dan Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) August 11, 2021
“If this virus can get from Sydney to Byron Bay, to Armidale, to then only a fool would think it couldn’t get to Albury. It absolutely can,” the Premier said.
“We need to go beyond a bubble. We need to have permits – people apply once, have their permit and then have a clear sense of who is moving within those border towns.”
The new arrangements will be enforced from 6pm Friday.
Also read: Australia has planned a Way Out of COVID lockdowns
Explaining the lockdown 6.0 extension, the Premier explained his government’s concerns over the mystery cases:
“But some of these new cases today, and the potential chains of transmission that sit behind them and the fact that we are getting further mysteries, not just the original two mystery cases but further mystery cases, that is a real concern to us.”
A big area of concern is the Caroline Springs Square shopping centre in Melbourne’s outer West.
There are now 29 coronavirus cases linked to the shopping centre. Many bus and train routes near the shopping centre have also been listed as exposure sites.
Late on Tuesday, Victorian health authorities instructed all staff who worked at the centre between August 2-5 to immediately get tested and quarantine for 14 days.
The state’s exposure site list has grown to almost 300 overnight, including a second housing tower in Flemington.
Better ventilation may curb the spread of cases
Aerosol scientist Lidia Morawska says some of the spread could have been prevented with improved ventilation. Professor Morawska has observed “shockingly high” concentrations of carbon dioxide (which can be used to measure poor ventilation) in Australian restaurants. According to a report in The Age, Professor Morawska says carbon dioxide monitors should join masks and QR codes as standard measures to avoid outbreaks in public places,.
See all of Victoria’s updated exposure sites here.