Victoria’s health authorities are “confident” the five-day lockdown period will be long enough to get on top of the growing hotel quarantine outbreak.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton responded to concerns the snap lockdown would be extended past Wednesday, saying he thought five days was a “realistic” length of time to stem the spread.
“We will look very closely only hours leading up to the five-day period. But we will have a greater number of results back and we will have almost all, if not all of those primary close contacts through but it does depend on whether new cases emerge or any other surprises that might occur,” he said.
General view outside as Police patrol the grounds during day six of the 2021 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on February 13, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Getty)
“But I am confident that five days is enough. But we will do whatever is necessary to get on top of this.”
Premier Daniel Andrews said the state was taking “a precautionary approach” to the cluster and while the lockdown is “painful”, it is “necessary”.
“Part of that abundance of caution is the assumption there are cases out there that we don’t know about, and they were not necessarily caught up in the net.”
Daniel Andrews February 13 (Nine)
“It would be irresponsible of me to try and provide a cast-iron guarantee but we’re all working as hard as we possibly can and we can’t do this on our own, (we) need Victorians to play their part.”
Victoria announced one new case of community transmission of COVID-19 overnight bringing the total number of cases associated with the Holiday Inn cluster to 14.
The new case is a friend of a hotel friend of someone who worked at the Holiday Inn in Melbourne is the 14th case linked to the cluster.
Their family and household contacts are now also being tested.
There have been zero cases acquired interstate and zero cases diagnosed in hotel quarantine with more than 20,000 people tested in 24 hours.
More than six million people across Victoria have woken to eerie scenes on the first day of the state’s ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown, with officials desperate to halt the spread of the deadly UK coronavirus strain in the community.Melbourne wakes to empty streets as lockdown begins. Saturday, February 13, 2021. (9News)
Stores are closed, shopping malls and cafes are empty, and streets are deserted as Victoria begins five days of stage four restrictions with the lockdown set to last until midnight on Wednesday.
People are now only permitted to leave their homes for one of the four essential reasons: shopping for necessary goods and services, essential work or education if it cannot be done from home, care and caregiving, exercise for two hours per day with household members, an intimate partner or one other person only.
Restaurants and cafes only allowed to offer takeaway and all non-essential retail stores have been forced to close.
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic serves to United States’ Talyor Fritz in an empty venue during their third round match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021. Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, will begin its third lockdown on midnight Friday due to a rapidly spreading COVID-19 cluster centered on hotel quarantine. (AP)
Hairdressing and beauty services will be unable to operate, along with physical recreation and sporting venues, and entertainment venues.
The Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne will be empty today as the Australian Open continues without spectators.
A five-kilometre travel radius has also been reinstated and masks must be worn everywhere in public.
Commonwealth government declares Greater Melbourne a COVID-19 hotspot
Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Paul Kelly has today declared Greater Melbourne a COVID-19 hotspot for at least three days.
The announcement comes after eight cases linked to Melbourne’s Holiday Inn cluster were confirmed to have contracted the highly infectious UK virus strain, two of whom worked at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport while infectious.
Victoria will enter stage four restrictions from 11.59pm tonight until 11.59pm on Wednesday. Victorians will only be able to leave their homes for one of the four essential reasons, including shopping for necessary goods and services, essential work or education if it cannot be done from home, exercise for two hours per day with household members, an intimate partner or one other person only. (Getty)
“Due to the increased risk posed by the B.1.1.7 variant of concern, the occurrence of cases in the community whilst infectious, and the risk of spread to other jurisdictions in Australia, Greater Melbourne meets the assessment of a hotspot for the provision of Commonwealth support,” a statement from Australia’s Department of Health said.
Professor Kelly has asked “anyone who has recently been in Greater Melbourne should stay alert to public health messages from state and territory health authorities.”
The declaration will be reviewed on Monday as the states waits to determine the extent of the outbreak over coming days.