Victoria’s snap lockdown is set to be extended after a meeting of health officials and senior government figures tonight.
Much concern rests on the specific Indian variant that has been spreading throughout the community and forcing its way through aged care and countless sites in the state.
Senior ministers met health officials for a “high-level briefing” surrounding the situation in Victoria and the possibility of extending the state’s fourth lockdown.
Officials have not confirmed the extension but the ABC, Age and Herald Sun have reported the lockdown will carry on beyond its Thursday deadline.
It is unclear just how long it will last — reports indicate anywhere between three to seven days — but the Herald Sun says “tough restrictions to remain in place until at least early next week”.
It says Victorians should expect the five reasons rule to remain in place.
News.com.au has contacted the Victorian Department of Health for comment.
The Age cited a “source close to the government”, speaking anonymously because “a final decision had not yet been made”.
“Chief health officer Brett Sutton’s team was leaning strongly toward recommending a lockdown extension,” it reads.
It is expected the decision will be made on Wednesday.
The news came at the same time NSW Health revealed a positive case from Victoria visited a number of sites, sparking more fears the virus may have spread across states.
The worry for officials is how quickly people are becoming infected after just “brushing past” strangers with the virus.
Testing Commander Jeroen Weimar said on Tuesday at least four of the state’s 54 locally transmitted cases have come from “fleeting” contact between Victorians.
“What we’re seeing now is people are brushing past each other in a small shop, they are going to a display home, they are looking at photos in a Telstra shop,” he said.
“This is relatively speaking, relatively fleeting. They do not know each other’s names, and that is very different from what we have been before.
“This is stranger to stranger transmission.”
Mr Sutton had earlier hinted an extension was likely after describing the spread of the virus as “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.
“So we have to take (lockdown) as a day-by-day prospect.
“With more numbers today coming through and those really concerning settings, especially in aged care, we are neck-and-neck with this virus and it is an absolute beast.”
Victoria recorded three new covid-19 cases Tuesday.
Health Minister Martin Foley said two of the cases were primary close contacts, who were already quarantining during their infectious period.
The final case is still under investigation.
“They are not a contact and are not are directly linked to any exposure site but there is very close proximity to other exposure sites and we are confident the investigation ongoing will uncover further crossover,” he said.
More to come.