2 Jun 2021

Melbourne lockdown to continue for further seven days - state government

4:30 pm on 2 June 2021

Victorians will be living under lockdown for at least another week, after the state recorded six new locally acquired Covid-19 infections brought the outbreak to 60 cases.

People queue for a Covid-19 test in Melbourne on May 27, 2021.

People queue for a Covid-19 test in Melbourne on May 27, 2021. Photo: AFP / William West

Melbourne's coronavirus lockdown will be extended for another seven days, Acting Premier James Merlino confirmed this afternoon.

The state's seven-day circuit breaker lockdown was due to end at 11:59pm Thursday (local time).

The lockdown will continue across Greater Melbourne, with some changes to schools and movement.

The New Zealand government will provide an update on the country's travel bubble arrangements with Victoria tomorrow.

The pause on the quarantine-free travel bubble was due to expire on Friday night.

New Zealand Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall said the government would make its decision with the latest information to hand.

"[Its] obviously hard for those Victorians who remain under lockdown, and we're obviously thinking of them and New Zealanders over there and looking forward to reviewing the evidence tomorrow about what our travel travel arrangements will be," she said.

Dr Verrall said people were informed when the bubble opened they should be prepared for community transmission and lockdowns.

She said at this stage there were no arrangements to bring New Zealanders back.

Some restrictions to ease

Restrictions will being easing in regional Victoria from 11.59pm on Thursday, if testing shows there continues to be no new cases.

In Melbourne, the five reasons to leave home will remain the same - shopping for food and essential supplies, authorised work or study, care and caregiving, exercise and getting vaccinated.

A 5km radius around the home will be lifted to 10km and students in years 11 and 12 will be able to return to face-to-face learning.

Six new locally-acquired Covid-19 cases were recorded on Tuesday, taking the state's outbreak to 60.

The positive cases were detected from 51,033 test results received on Tuesday, while 20,585 vaccination doses were administered at state-run vaccination sites.

The government yesterday highlighted its concerns that the Kappa variant involved in the outbreak was more infectious than previous strains, with contact tracers identifying transmission occurring between strangers with what Victoria's Covid-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar called only "fleeting" contact.

Kimberley Prather, a distinguished professor in atmospheric chemistry at the University of California, said it was true that new variants, such as the Kappa variant spreading in Victoria, were "more transmissible".

"Which means that measures that you used before, you know how long you interact, the masks you wear, that worked before ... may not be working so well now," she told ABC Radio Melbourne.

Professor Prather said some of the commentary from Weimar was "a bit baffling".

"The commonality that is there now was there before, which is, all of those incidents that he described are people sharing the air indoors," she said.

"They kind of make it sound like 'well, they just passed by each other,. But if they were inside, indoors with an infectious person, breathing the air, then that's how they're getting infected.

"This virus is airborne and you get infected by inhaling shared air. So every one of those cases that he described, that's clearly what's happening."

The ABC has spoken to the family of the woman who was believed to have caught coronavirus through "fleeting" transmission at a display home in Mickleham.

Her family said she returned a positive result last Friday, but she later got retested and returned a negative result this morning.

They said they were suspicious about the positive result because her visit to the display home exposure site was two days after the visit from a confirmed case.

NSW on alert after man travels north

Late last night, Victoria's health department revealed a recent case had travelled up into New South Wales while potentially infectious, resulting in exposure sites being listed for regional Victorian service stations along the Hume Freeway and in Jervis Bay, Goulburn, Hyams Beach and Vincentia in NSW.

Health Department Secretary Brendan Murphy said most of the six new cases reported in Victoria today were family contacts of that man who travelled to New South Wales.

Professor Murphy told Senate Estimates none of the new cases were either aged care residents or staff.

Australian Medical Association president, Omar Khorshid, said the pace of community transmission in Victoria was very concerning.

"We're certainly seeing this much more rapid transmission, which is something we've been fearing for a while and we have kind of gotten away with," he told ABC News Breakfast.

"Most of the breaches that we've seen of quarantine have resulted in no major outbreaks for quite a while now and unfortunately it's Victoria suffering again."

Meanwhile, parts of the Melbourne Assessment Prison in Melbourne's CBD are in lockdown this morning after it was revealed a senior prison officer visited an exposure site.

Six staff, including the man who visited the exposure site, have been sent for testing this morning.

The union representing prison workers says sections of the remand prison the staff member did not visit are beginning to be unlocked.

The prison will be closed for visitors today.


Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs