We are now five days into the planned week-long lockdown and, as the deadline of 11:59pm on Thursday looms, Victorians may be wondering if restrictions will indeed be lifted.
Here’s what Health Minister Martin Foley and the COVID-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar had to say at the press conference on Tuesday.
Mr Foley said the public health team was weighing up the infectiousness of the variant and what risk mystery cases might pose when calculating if restrictions could be safely eased.
“We are not yet in a position to make that call, and as soon as we are, we’ll be certainly coming out and sharing that with all Victorians,” he said.
“Victorians have sacrificed more than anyone else around the nation when it comes to making sure that we got, as we very recently had, 86 continuous days of no community transmission.
“What we want to do is make sure that our efforts reflect the value of that sacrifice and avoid the risk that we saw last winter of the devastation that this causes in private residential aged care.”
He said Victorians would expect that of their government, and “that’s what we’ll be doing”.
“I can guarantee that as soon as a decision is made, that Victorians, businesses and the wider community will be brought into the confidence of that as quickly as possible,” Mr Foley said.
“But I stress, our public health team are going through the process of looking at the data, looking at the risk, looking at where, particularly, the high-risk cases are.
“And I stress, we have an unlinked case in aged care.”
When asked if regional Victoria could be released from lockdown, Mr Foley said the public health team was currently going through all the data.
“The Chief Health Officer and the public health team will make recommendations based on all the most up-to-date intelligence and material that’s available,” he said.
“We still got, particularly, at Cohuna [Footbal and Netball Club] and Axedale [Tavern], a number of people quarantining, and they might well turn positive.
“But at the moment … it continues to be a day-by-day, case-by-case proposition.
COVID-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar
When asked if Melbourne was getting ahead of the outbreak, Mr Weimar said they were doing “exceptionally well”.
“We’re running fast, and we’re doing it because we’re being supported by people doing the right thing,” Mr Weimar said.
“Testing numbers are high, vaccine presentation is high, engagement with different bits of the community to understand what’s going on, that’s all working well. But I don’t know what I don’t know. And it’s a big swamp.
He said it was certainly the fastest-moving outbreak he had seen anywhere in Australia for a long time.
“So I am not taking this lightly at all,” he said.
“I’m confident that we’re doing everything that we possibly can to get on top of it.
“As we saw yesterday, you are only one positive test away from having to go down a whole rabbit hole.”