Victoria in Covid lockdown after outbreak traced to quarantine hotel

People queue in their cars at a Covid-19 testing station in Melbourne

People queue in their cars at a Covid-19 testing station in Melbourne

The Victorian government has imposed a seven-day state-wide "circuit breaker" lockdown starting at midnight Thursday after 26 new CCP virus cases emerged from a cluster of the Indian variant linked to South Australian hotel quarantine.

The lockdown will be enforced after authorities identified 10,000 primary and secondary contacts linked to a Covid-19 outbreak in the state capital Melbourne's northern suburbs, reports Xinhua news agency.

These fears were realised today when Victoria recorded a dozen more COVID-19 cases overnight, taking the cluster to 26.

Chief health officer Professor Brett Sutton warned "any one of the [10,000] could become cases over the next 14 days".

The current strain can take one day to infect another person compared with earlier strains which can take about five or six days, Merlino said.

He said the reason for the high number of primary contacts is because of the "generations of transmissions" which occurred before the first case in the outbreak was identified.

The outbreak has intensified criticism of flawed quarantine facilities and a national vaccine rollout that, according to acting state Premier James Merlino, is "not where it should be".

It'll run for a week until 11.59pm Thursday June 3.

Under the new rules, hotels and accommodations are allowed to stay open to support guests that stay onsite; Merlino specified that no new bookings should be made unless there's a valid reason, such as work.

The additions bring the number of people in Victoria's latest cluster to 26.

Ontario reports just over 1,000 new COVID cases on Tuesday
David Williams said the province is seeing COVID-19 deaths in people under 70, and in some cases, even under 40 years-old. The province's positivity rate is now 6.4 per cent, unchanged from the previous day, according to the Ministry of Health.

Visitors to aged care facilities will be banned except for limited reasons, while visitors to hospitals will be restricted to those supporting a partner during birth, a parent accompanying a child, or end of life reasons.

All non-essential retail will close but essential stores including supermarkets, bottle shops, and pharmacies will remain open. And masks must be worn everywhere.

Queensland has asked its residents to reconsider all travel to Victoria, especially Melbourne, and anyone who has been in the City of Whittlesea since May 11 will be refused entry.

"Sadly, we have one of those people in an ICU, on a ventilator, in not a very good way".

One helpful outcome of the outbreak is that there has been an upsurge in Victorians getting vaccinated with 15, 858 people receiving their jab on Tuesday, whereas the previous average daily uptake was less than 6, 300.

He confirmed that they had not had the vaccine despite being over the age of 50.

Victoria has also expanded its vaccination programme in an attempt to combat the spread of the virus.

Morrison urged eligible Australians to get vaccinated, saying the "wonderful and enviable" way of life Down Under during much of the pandemic had led to some vaccine hesitancy.

"If we had an alternative to hotels for this particular variant of concern, we would not be here today".

"There are no certainties, no guarantees, in a global pandemic".

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