New exposure sites emerge as Victorians wake to first day of lockdown

New exposure sites emerge as Victorians wake to first day of lockdown

May 28, 2021

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There are now more than 120 exposure sites in Victoria and long queues have are forming at coronavirus testing sites and vaccination hubs, as the state begins the first morning of a seven-day lockdown.

Coles has reintroduced limits on toilet paper, school students are again learning from home and Melbourne’s Lord Mayor Sally Capp has called on the Victorian and federal governments to provide financial help to businesses, who no longer have the safety net of JobKeeper.

Two gyms in Melbourne’s inner and south-eastern suburbs, and a medical centre and chemist in Melbourne’s north have been identified as Victoria’s latest potential exposure sites.

The Department of Health has identified a total of 121 exposure sites – stretching across Melbourne, through the regions and to the Victorian-NSW border.

The four newest potential COVID-19 exposure sites across Victoria all occurred on Tuesday.

The head of a Melbourne infectious diseases institute says she believes the seven-day lockdown will be long enough for Victoria to get on top of the outbreak that was triggered by a leak from South Australian hotel quarantine.

Doherty Institute director Sharon Lewin said while it is “hard to know” if the COVID-19 cases can be brought under control in Victoria in just a week, the lockdown would give contact tracers time to get in touch with all those potentially exposed to the virus.

“There’s something like 10,000 people in quarantine. Not so much to stop transmission but to actually get on top of these contacts and make sure they are at home and quarantined,” Professor Lewin told Today.

“I’m pretty confident seven days should be sufficient.“
There are now 14,000 in Victoria that are required to isolate for the full 14 days, or get tested and isolate until they receive a negative result.

Cr Capp said the effect on businesses with reduced income would last longer than just the seven days of the lockdown, with the state’s economic momentum once again “dashed”.

“We do need confidence and certainty from the state government and federal Government about assistance for those who need it,” she told ABC News Breakfast.

“We have to be worried about how people can keep bouncing back from these lockdowns – it’s so difficult.

“It takes an enormous amount of effort and in this environment: there is no JobKeeper, rental assistance programs have finished and we really need to consider the support financially that business owners are going to need.”

Latrobe epidemiologist Hassan Vally said Victorians should take heart that contact tracing systems have been improved to have higher capacity than last year.

“The systems in Victoria are completely different to where they were this time last year,” he told ABC Radio National.

“There have been a lot of lessons that have been learned over the last 12 months, and a lot of changes that have been made, including moving to a decentralised system … we should take some confidence from the fact that we’ve had the best part of 12 months to refine our systems and our processes and increase our capacity to deal with exactly this sort of situation.”

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