Victoria considers suburban lockdowns as coronavirus hot spots identified

Victoria recorded its fourth worst day for coronavirus cases today after 75 people tested positive to the illness.

And as the state’s second wave continues to spread, health authorities and the Victorian government are strongly considering a return to lockdown – but things could be different this time.

Instead of a statewide lockdown, or even one that causes restaurants and hospitality venues to shut up shop again, Victoria is instead weighing up localised lockdowns for the state’s hot spots.

But as Victoria’s chief health officer Professor Brett Sutton admitted today, localised lockdowns could go very badly.

“We know what the consequences are of a lockdown in terms of fatigue in people’s behaviours and we don’t want to drive people out of suburban areas into new unaffected areas,” he said.

So there is a balancing act in terms of making the call on a lockdown. We know that it is a real challenge for businesses, it is a real challenge for people in their homes but it is absolutely an option and we flagged the possibility of using it and we will use it if it is required.”

RELATED: Worst day for locally acquired cases

RELATED: Where Victoria’s cases are coming from

Mr Sutton admitted it “was a possibility” that lockdown-fatigued Victorians could simply move out of their hotspot suburb and go somewhere else.

“It would be part of the new rule, to stay at home, that people would stay in their place of residence,” he said.

“But it would be a significantly difficult exercise to manage a stay at home order that is just about particular postcodes, particular suburbs or local government areas. So we have to think about all of those challenges in doing so.”

Mr Sutton said discussions about a return to lockdown were still in the early stages.

“We are looking at whatever options will work in these circumstances. Nothing is locked in and nothing is off the table,” he said.

“We have to think through what will make a difference in this current challenge. It is a little bit different.

“We know that transmission is occurring across households and it is people seeing too many others across too many vulnerable settings where transmission is occurring.

“We know that for a lot of our settings, restaurants and other places that have really taken up the COVIDSafe code, if you like, that the risk of transmission in those settings is well-managed, and so it may not look the same in terms of shutting down a lot of those settings because that is not where transmission is occurring.

“We have to dig down to the epidemiology in current circumstances and I think it is going to have to focus on limiting the number of interactions that people have and making sure that if you are symptomatic, you are staying at home.”

Federal deputy chief medical officer Dr Nick Coatsworth stopped short of endorsing a localised lockdown when speaking with ABC News Breakfast this morning.

“What we have seen in the past week is an unprecedented effort to control an urban outbreak in a major Australian city. Keeping in mind, the Victorian health system is the one that managed to do 160,000 tests in two weeks. So, their testing blitz is going to be very significant,” he said.

“There’s certainly a major effort going on, and there’s every reason to suspect that it will be able to be brought under control.

“Premier Andrews left open the possibility of increasing restrictions in certain geographic areas. But certainly the coming days and the coming numbers will be very important to have a look at it.”

The 75 fresh COVID-19 cases confirmed today mark the state’s highest number since the peak in late March.

Victoria had its high on March 28, when 111 tests returned positive results, then 84 on March 29 and 96 two days later.

Stage three restrictions allowing Victorians to leave the house only for essential purchases were imposed on March 30.

Premier Daniel Andrews said last week that authorities were waiting on the full results of the three-day coronavirus testing blitz in 10 suburban hot spots to come through before deciding on any further measures to contain the virus.

He has not ruled out a lockdown for the worst-affected areas.

“That is not our preference but we’ll do it if we need to,” Mr Andrews said.

Public health officials have been doorknocking homes in Melbourne’s coronavirus hot spots and have encouraged anyone in the following suburbs to be tested: Keilor Downs, Broadmeadows, Maidstone, Albanvale, Sunshine West, Hallam, Brunswick West, Fawkner, Reservoir and Pakenham.



Source link

Leave a comment

Sign Up Now

Become a member of our online community and get tickets to upcoming matches or sports events faster!