‘One hour at a time’: Experts optimistic but Premier won’t rule out extending lockdown

Infectious diseases experts remain optimistic Victoria’s snap lockdown could still end on Thursday, despite Premier Daniel Andrews not ruling out extending the circuit-breaker.

New concerns emerged about the state’s contact-tracing system on day three of the lockdown, as two more infections linked to quarantine hotels were confirmed.

Mr Andrews on Monday urged patience from Victorians “to wait to see how things unfold”.

Australian infectious diseases experts remain quietly confident Victoria’s snap lockdown could still end on Thursday, despite the Holiday Inn outbreak rising to 17 cases on Monday.Credit:Wayne Taylor (Getty Images)

“We have to let this unfold. I know it’s painful and challenging, but you want the most contemporary picture,” he said. “I’ve never been one to try and make bold predictions. We just have to take this one hour at a time, one day at a time.”

Victoria on Monday had 21 active coronavirus infections, including one new case linked to the Holiday Inn cluster, which grew to 17. Separately, a young girl who is a returned traveller in hotel quarantine also became infected.

A total of 1100 close contacts linked to the Holiday Inn cluster are in self-isolation, with almost 600 of those connected to the case at Terminal 4, Melbourne Airport.

All the co-workers of the infected staff member who worked at Brunetti Cafe at Terminal 4 last week tested negative to COVID-19, with just one result outstanding. There are 34 customers linked to the cafe in total, with most residing interstate.

The coronavirus cluster linked to Holiday Inn at Melbourne Airport has grown to 17.Credit:Joe Armao

A woman, whose three-year-old child contracted the virus at a family function on Sydney Road in Coburg on February 6, is considered to be the seventeenth case in the Holiday Inn cluster.

Mr Andrews said the woman was asymptomatic and had been swabbed three or four times on February 13 and 14, returning negative and weak positive results.

“Given her exposure and the variability of those results, the public health team has taken the most conservative approach and have deemed her a positive case,” Mr Andrews said.

A psychiatric unit at The Alfred hospital and psychiatric wards at the Northern Hospital in Broadmeadows, where the woman worked, are now in lockdown. About 150 primary close contacts across the three hospitals were all tested on Sunday night.

Asked whether there was an acceptable number of cases that would allow the state to emerge from lockdown, the Premier said those public health parameters were being determined by Victorian officials.

Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the lockdown was “going as well as we could expect”.

“Every single case has been linked. Those immediate social and household close contacts testing negative, that’s all terrific news. I am always aware that we can have a day when something comes completely out of left field, so I hope that doesn’t happen,” Professor Sutton said.

Sign up to our Coronavirus Update newsletter

Get our Coronavirus Update newsletter for the day’s crucial developments at a glance, the numbers you need to know and what our readers are saying. Sign up to The Sydney Morning Herald’s newsletter here and The Age’s here.

Most Viewed in National

Source: Read Full Article