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Melbourne will not “snap back” to large crowds and sporting stadiums, even if the 14-day lockdown comes to an end this week, Victorian health officials have warned.
Ahead of Tuesday’s Covid case numbers, the state’s chief health officer, Prof Brett Sutton, said a decision would be made on a “day-to-day” basis whether the lockdown would end at midnight on Thursday.
The prime minister, Scott Morrison, said on Monday he hoped the restrictions would “be lifted as soon as possible”, as Victoria recorded 11 new cases of Covid-19. Monday’s numbers were up from the weekend’s totals, but all 11 cases were linked to existing outbreaks.
Sutton said it was “good news” that the new cases were all linked to known cases and did not reveal a new outbreak.
But he warned Victorians that any lifting would still not be “a snap-back to large gatherings at a full MCG”.
“As I’ve always said, we’re looking at the numbers every day,” he said. “We make those decisions on a day-by-day basis … It’s not something I can speak to now. It’s early days still.”
Three cases reported on Monday were identified as being of concern by the coronavirus response commander, Jeroen Weimar, because they were in aged care.
Two aged care workers and one resident at Arcare Maidstone tested positive, though two of those were first reported on Sunday. Weimar said none were showing symptoms but were tested as close contacts.
Three children also tested positive, all from the one family, and are connected to the West Melbourne cluster, bringing that cluster to 14. As of Tuesday morning, there were 5,800 people still in isolation in connection to various outbreaks.
Victoria’s current restrictions are scheduled to end at 11.59pm on Thursday. An initial seven-day lockdown for the whole state was announced on 27 May. Last Wednesday the government announced the lockdown would be extended in Melbourne for another seven days, but most restrictions would be lifted for regional Victoria.
Sutton told reporters on Monday: “These 11 new cases today is what has happened after a week and a half of a very stringent lockdown. I can’t tell you what an alternative universe would look like if we hadn’t had a lockdown, but you don’t have to have an overactive imagination to imagine that if you had the opportunity for any number of people to come to your household every day of the last 10 days, that it might look very different.”
Later on Monday, Morrison said he would “urge” Victoria to lift restrictions or make them more specific to parts of Melbourne.
Morrison said he was “hopeful that these restrictions in Victoria will be lifted as soon as possible”.
“As the [New South Wales premier, Gladys Berejiklian] herself has said, when similar circumstances were faced here in NSW, the restrictions were contained to a very specific part of Sydney, so I would be urging that we move towards lifting those restrictions as soon as possible.
“Kids have lost enough time out of school over the course of the last 18 months and it’s very important we get those kids back to school as soon as possible.”
Sutton said he would consider restrictions for only specific parts of Melbourne, but the 300 exposure sites currently identified were “very broadly spread” across metropolitan Melbourne.
The federal chief medical officer, Prof Paul Kelly, said it was a matter for the Victorian government when to lift the lockdown.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: No ‘snap-back’ to large crowds when Melbourne lockdown ends, health chief warns | Victoria