Vic posts 11 local COVID cases, lockdown set to ease

Victoria has posted 11 more local COVID cases as millions wait to learn whether the statewide lockdown will ease at midnight Tuesday, as planned.

All of Monday’s cases are linked to known coronavirus outbreaks, and all were in isolation throughout their infectious period – data that is likely to buoy hopes for an end to the state shutdown.

Monday’s update, which came from more than 25,000 tests in the previous 24-hour period. It is almost identical to Sunday’s update, when there were also 11 local infections, all of them in isolation.

That prompted Premier Daniel Andrews to declare Victoria was “well-placed” to end its fifth lockdown as planned on Tuesday night, though some restrictions are likely to remain for some time.

On Monday, Health Minister Martin Foley would not confirm the lockdown would life – but was optimistic.

“Over the past week, we’ve seen the day of our highest-ever testing numbers in Victoria and yesterday, we saw 25,000 plus tests returned,” he said.

“That together gives us some further comfort that we know what is out there but we can only be sure if Victorians continue to come forward in such strong numbers.”

There are now 179 cases linked to the community Delta outbreak, with five in hospital including two in intensive care – one on a ventilator.

Victoria went into what was meant to be a five-day lockdown on July 15 due to the outbreak, which originated from cases in NSW.

The state shutdown was extended for a week until 11.59pm on Tuesday.

On Sunday, Mr Andrews said he was confident the lockdown wouldn’t be extended again, citing the downward trend in the number of people in the community while infectious.

“These numbers are the trend that we wanted to see, these numbers are more than promising, but we just have to wait and see what comes through tomorrow and Tuesday to be certain that we can ease restrictions,” he said.

“I will foreshadow, there will still be rules after midnight Tuesday, it’ll be important that we all follow them.”

Mr Andrews has already flagged that masks will remain compulsory for some time.

“Masks are going to be a feature from now until we get the maximum number of people through the vaccination program,” he said.

  • Check the updated list of Victorian exposure sites here

More than 22,000 people are self-isolating across the state after being deemed close contacts of positive cases, while there are more than 380 exposure sites.

Several venues dropped off the list on overnight, after reaching two weeks since the last confirmed virus exposure period. Victoria has added no new exposure sites since late Saturday, when the Morning Market in Fitzroy and an apartment complex in Hawthorn were listed.

In coming days, thousands of people will also be freed from self-isolation, as long as they return negative day-13 virus tests.

Mr Andrews expressed his dismay at “selfish” anti-lockdown protesters who gathered in Melbourne on Saturday but said he was reasonably confident the rally would not become a super-spreader event.

-with AAP

Topics: victoria
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