Exposure sites key to ending Victoria lockdown

Police patrol the streets of Melbourne at the start of the 'circuit breaker' lockdown. Photo:...
Police patrol the streets of Melbourne at the start of the 'circuit breaker' lockdown. Photo: Getty Images
The lifting of Victoria's five-day "circuit breaker" lockdown in the wake of a coronavirus outbreak will depend on how many more exposure sites emerge, state health authorities say.

Overnight on Monday, two more sites were revealed. They include Sacca's Fruit World at Broadmeadows and the fruit and meat section of Broadmeadows Central shopping centre, both in Melbourne's north.

Anyone who has visited the first site between 12.15pm and 1.15pm on Tuesday February 9 has been told to isolate and get tested.

Anyone who visited the second site between 12.30pm and 1pm on the same day is being told to monitor for symptoms.

Authorities are yet to rule out an extension to the shutdown due to end on Wednesday after Melbourne's Holiday Inn hotel outbreak grew to 17 cases on Monday.

With the state now more than halfway through the lockdown, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton is waiting to see more data.

He concedes further cases stemming from the Melbourne Airport quarantine hotel cluster are reasonably likely to arise in the coming days.

But he indicated they won't necessarily sink Victoria's chances if they are linked to the more than 3000 Victorians who are contacts of confirmed cases and are now isolating.

"We're hoping that all of those would occur in people that have already been identified, already been quarantined and would not generate any more exposure sites," Prof Sutton said on Monday.

"That's the critical thing. We don't want new cases to emerge where we hear that they've been to multiple public areas or gatherings.

"That's, in essence, the reason for this five-day short, sharp lockdown."

Premier Daniel Andrews says while he's not yet in a position to confirm the lockdown will end as planned on Wednesday the state was "well placed".

"However, 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," he said on Monday.

Meanwhile, about 150 people have been identified as close contacts of a woman who attended a function at a Coburg venue with an infectious hotel quarantine worker on February 6.

A psychiatric unit at The Alfred hospital and psychiatric wards at Broadmeadows Hospital and the Northern Hospital in Epping, where the woman worked, have been locked down.

Her close contacts across the three hospitals, including a "small number" of patients, have been tested and will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

The woman's three-year-old child also attended the event and has since tested positive.

The child attended Glenroy Central Kinder and Goodstart Early Learning Centre in Glenroy for three days last week.

More than 100 close contacts have been identified and a dedicated testing site has been set up at one of the facilities.


the countdown has begun for the start of Australia's coronavirus vaccine rollout, more than a year after the first case was detected in the country.

Health Minister Greg Hunt has confirmed the rollout will begin next Monday after the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrived in Australia.

The shipment included more than 142,000 doses of the vaccine, with 50,000 set to go to the states and territories for hotel quarantine workers, frontline health workers, and residential and disability care.

Mr Hunt said the doses would be divided among the states depending on their population.

Australia has secured more than 150 million doses of various vaccines.

That includes almost 54 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with the vast majority to be manufactured in Melbourne, and more than 51 million from Novavax.

The medical regulator is expected to soon announce approval for the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Australia is also part of the international COVAX facility, which provides access to a range of vaccines in order to immunise up to half of the population.

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