Saturday, November 27, 2021

Lockdown set to be extended, exposure sites grow

Victorians are bracing for an extension of the state’s seven-day “circuit breaker” lockdown today, as officials reveal the alarming way the virus is spreading.

The Victorian government has continually refused to confirm whether the lockdown will be extended past its end date of 11.59pm on June 3. Still, multiple media outlets have confirmed senior government ministers met overnight to discuss the next step.

Three new Covid-19 cases were confirmed on Tuesday, bringing the total number of infections in the cluster to 54.

According to the Herald Sun, the lockdown extension is expected to be announced on Wednesday and is expected to remain in place until early next week.

A cabinet minister told The Age the highly transmissible nature of the B.1.617 strain seen in Victoria is one of the significant reasons a lockdown extension is being considered.

This strain was first detected in India and has since spread to more than 40 countries. The World Health Organisation identifies it as a “variant of concern” as it appears much more infectious than other strains.

Cabinet ministers were reportedly told the options for the extension length were between three and seven days, with a final call to be made on Wednesday morning.

On Monday, chief health officer Professor Brett Sutton said Victoria was “neck and neck with this virus”, describing it as an “absolute beast”.

He said authorities were discussing the lockdown measures daily, but the latest developments were “really concerning”.

“We’ve gone from a single case of the beginning of the month to 4200 primary close contacts,” he said.

“It has been a rapidly moving virus and the transmission that has occurred in those high-risk settings has been very substantial.

He said Victoria has to “prepare for anything” in the coming days.

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