Daniel Andrews has told Victorians he “cannot rule out” introducing more restrictions to curb the state’s coronavirus outbreak after a spike in positive cases that includes 12 in the regional city of Shepparton.
The premier warned that unless Melburnians follow the lockdown rules to the letter, next week’s case numbers “will be like Sydney”.
Andrews said Victoria was “right on the edge of this getting away from us”.
“The Delta variant is so wildly infectious that it will find every breach of every rule and it will spread because of that," él dijo. “So I am imploring Melburnians and Victorians, I am asking you, in your interests and in the interest of all Victorians: we cannot have a weekend like last weekend.”
Victoria reported 55 locally acquired cases on Friday, 30 of which were infectious in the community.
Those cases did not include a 30-year-old man in Shepparton who tested positive to the virus on Friday morning, sparking a testing blitz in the northern city.
Goulburn Valley Salud was notified of the positive case just before 8am. By Friday afternoon, 11 of the man’s close contacts had tested positive.
“All people that have tested positive are family members from two separate households and are now isolating,” said the chief executive of Goulburn Valley Health, Matt Sharp.
Although no lockdown has been announced for regional Victoria, late on Friday the Victorian government flagged that the cases in regional Victoria were “extremely concerning” and told AAP: “All options are on the table.” Community sporting leagues were told to immediately cancel their activities, with an update to be provided on Saturday morning.
Andrews said the high number of cases in the community made Friday “a bad day”. It was in contrast to Thursday, Cuándo there were 57 locally acquired cases but only 13 had spent any time in the community while infectious.
“We cannot allow this to get away from us," él dijo. “The government is playing its part. We locked down early, we have locked down hard … But rules are only as good as the behaviour and choices we make.
“I cannot be any clearer with the people of Melbourne and more broadly people of Victoria: if we have a weekend this weekend like last weekend, next week it will be like Sydney.
“Simple as that. This will get away from us. We have too many mystery cases out there.”
Andrews would not say what tighter restrictions might look like for a city that is already living under stage four lockdown. He also would not comment on whether restrictions would be reintroduced in regional Victoria.
Speaking before a national cabinet meeting, he also urged young Victorians not to cancel their booking for an AstraZeneca vaccination off the promise that they would be eligible for Pfizer from the end of the month.
“I would not bank on anything being here in two weeks,” Andrews said. “I have not seen that stock. Is it even here?"
He said he had not been advised of the change in eligibility before it was announced and had not been told when Victoria may get extra supplies to allow authorities to provide more bookings.
“I have not seen it," él dijo. “Is it sitting in a warehouse? Is it arriving on a big military plane? I do not know.
“For heaven’s sake, do not cancel an appointment you have made now on a promise that something will be available in two weeks’ time. We need all of us to have a sense of urgency to do everything we can to limit the spread and getting vaccinated does that.”
There bookings open for Pfizer for people aged 40 and over in Australia, and for AstraZeneca, in the Victorian state hubs.
Asked if he would consider allowing people who were fully vaccinated more freedoms once vaccination levels reach 70%, as the New South Wales premier, Gladys Berejiklian, has flagged, Andrews said: “That is not the national plan.”
He urged parents to take Victoria’s restrictions seriously to protect their children, who made up almost half of all positive cases in Victoria at the moment. It followed several days of criticism of the state government’s decision to close playgrounds and skateparks.
“No children in our country are vaccinated,” Andrews said. “As a parent, to any other parent, that should be enough. We cannot be certain what the impact of this virus is on kids.”
Existen 89 children aged nine and under who have tested positive and 72 aged between 10 y 19. A further 120 positive cases are in the 20 a 39 age group, 56 are aged 40 a 59, and just 12 are aged 60 y por encima.
It is a “completely different epidemiological pattern than what we have seen previously,” said the acting chief health officer, Prof Ben Cowie.
Friday’s figures included a new cluster of 13 cases linked to a childcare centre run at the My Centre multicultural youth centre in Broadmeadows.
The Victorian Covid-19 response commander, Jeroen Weimar, said the cluster had been discovered when one person was picked up as a possible contact of a positive case linked to the Glenroy West primary school cluster, but contact tracing had linked it back to another case who may have been infectious since 11 agosto.
“It highlights again, if you’re symptomatic, come forward immediately for testing," él dijo.
“I am glad we found, but we now have 13 cases in one hit, in one centre, and again right in the middle of our young people, right in the middle of a place looking after our youngest and most vulnerable Victorians.”
Weimar also urged people who had been told to isolate as close contacts or as people with the virus to maintain a strict isolation, saying there had been leaks out of isolation in Newport.
“The thing I am really disappointed about today is that we are back in a world where we are on a knife-edge as to which way this could go,” Weimar said. “This is not heading in the right direction at the moment.”