8 Jun 2021

Covid-19 outbreak in Victoria: optimism over lifting lockdown

12:52 pm on 8 June 2021

Victoria has recorded two new locally acquired cases of coronavirus, with around 83 active cases in the outbreak.

People wearing masks cross an almost empty shopping street in Melbourne on May 26, 2021, as Australia's second biggest city scrambles to contain a growing Covid-19 outbreak. (Photo by William WEST / AFP)

Melbourne's lockdown is due to end this week, but there are still several mysteries around the latest outbreak. Photo: AFP

Both new cases are linked to the current outbreak.

The results were detected among 22,814 tests processed on Monday, as the state delivered 21,192 vaccination doses at state-run sites.

The Melbourne lockdown is due to end at 11:59pm on Thursday, but authorities are still trying to solve several mysteries around the outbreak.

They include how the Delta strain circulating in the West Melbourne cluster entered the community, how an aged care outbreak at a facility in Melbourne's west began and the transmission link between the City of Whittlesea cluster and a Wollert man infected with the Kappa strain in South Australian hotel quarantine last month.

The health department recorded 11 new cases on Sunday, but many of those were people already isolating, and all were linked to known cases.

Several children are among the cases in the West Melbourne cluster, but University of Melbourne paediatrics Professor Fiona Russell said there was no need to expedite the vaccination of children.

"In the context that we've got a global shortage of vaccine when most frontliners haven't even been vaccinated, you have to really go through due process in terms of what the benefits are and the direct benefits to children versus the risk," she said.

"It may be in some point in the future we may need to vaccinate children, but we're not there yet."

A Covid-19 vaccination centre in Melbourne, April 2021.

Although children are among Melbourne's latest cases, a professor does not want the vaccine rolled out to all children in the short-term. Photo: AFP

Several Melbourne shops have been added to the list of more than 300 exposure sites, including an IGA supermarket in Southbank and 7-Eleven stores in Yarraville and Maribyrnong.

'Encouraging' case numbers in recent days

Victoria's Tourism and Major Events Minister, Martin Pakula, said there were positive signs ahead of a ruling later this week on whether Melbourne's lockdown would be eased.

"Today's numbers are encouraging, yesterday's numbers were more encouraging than they may have looked on face value because they were all linked," he said.

"So those things are positives, but we'll continue to assess between now and when the decision point is, which will be on Wednesday or Thursday."

Pakula said he expected crowds to be allowed at AFL games in Melbourne when the current lockdown was eased.

"I don't expect that we will be going back to 85 percent [capacity] or anything of that nature, but I do expect that we'll have AFL games back in Victoria sooner rather than later," he said.


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