MELBOURNE, Australia — Australia’s South-eastern state, Victoria, is entering day two of its latest Covid-19 related lockdown, as authorities try to contain an extra-infectious strain of the virus.
With 39 active cases in the state, Victorians have been told not to leave home except to shop for food and essential items, provide or receive care, exercise, work or study, or get vaccinated.
Most infections are linked to the City of Whittlesea cluster in Melbourne, with cases testing positive for the B1617 strain first identified in India.
Authorities detected just four new cases on May 28, but the state’s chief health officer Brett Sutton cautioned, “it’s not over yet.”
“You really never know what to expect,” he said.
“We absolutely have to recognize that there are thousands and thousands of close contacts that are still to go through the incubation period who could become symptomatic.”
People must observe a five-kilometer travel limit for exercise and shopping and wear masks both indoors and outdoors. This limit does not apply to authorized work when giving or receiving care, getting a Covid-19 vaccination, or visiting an intimate partner or your single social bubble buddy.
Victorians may also leave home to visit their intimate partner, their single social bubble buddy, or in an emergency — including those at risk of family violence.
“Face masks do not need to be worn indoors or outdoors if you are working alone.
You can leave your home in an emergency or if there is family violence.
These actions will protect our loved ones, friends, colleagues, health care workers, and the community,” the government of Victoria wrote on their website.
More than 15,000 primary and secondary contacts have been told to self-isolate after coming into contact with a Covid-19 case.
The state government has asked for 160 defense force personnel to help check on the thousands of people told to isolate at home.
Late on May 28, the list of exposure sites had grown to 150, including a flu vaccination center in the suburb of Preston.
Authorities are also urgently trying to track down people who attended five exposure sites: The Sporting Globe in Mordialloc, Three Monkeys, and Somewhere Bar in Prahran, The Local in Port Melbourne, and The Palace Hotel in South Melbourne.
A record 47,462 Victorians were tested 24 hours to the morning of May 28, while 17,223 received a Covid-19 vaccine dose.
It’s estimated the lockdown will cost the state’s economy about AU$ 2.5 billion ($1.93 billion).
The lockdown is set to end at 11.59 p.m. on June 3.
(Edited by Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar and Ojaswin Kathuria)
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