Victoria sent into statewide lockdown as Shepparton Covid cluster rises to 17

Victoria's entire state is under lockdown as authorities try to stop a fast-growing cluster of Covid-19 centered on Shepparton.
Daniel Andrews, the premier, stated that all of Victoria was at risk. A statewide lockdown was the only way to prevent a similar scenario from playing out in New South Wales.

At 1pm, all of Victoria was locked down. It will remain so until September 2.

The same orders will be in effect in regional centres as in Melbourne, but they won't be subject to the curfew in the capital.

Andrews also closed access to childcare services for all children except those who are vulnerable and children of authorised workers. Access to childcare will require a permit.

To address the significant over-representation among young children in states 402 and 403, masks are recommended for primary school children who are indoors.

For high-risk industries such as abattoirs and meat processing centres, there will be restrictions on workforce.

On Saturday, Victoria saw 61 cases of locally acquired virus in Victoria. 39 of these were highly infectious. Only 48 cases have been linked to known outbreaks, according to authorities.

Rapid testing revealed that 16 additional cases were also found in Shepparton. They will be added to Sunday's numbers.

Andrews stated that the public health team has advised that there is a high risk of transmission in regional Victoria due to the Shepparton epidemic and the fact that at most one person traveled to Bendigo and possibly others, Andrews said to reporters.

Jeroen Weimar, commander of Covid-19, said that there are now 18 people in hospital. He added that eight were in intensive care and two were on ventilators.

He also said that these numbers are beginning to rise.

Two large, rapidly growing clusters of cases were responsible for the 77 cases today.

One is the Shepparton cluster. It has 17 members.

The second is the MyCentre Multicultural Youth Centre in Broadmeadows, suburban Melbourne. On Saturday, another 14 cases were added to the cluster, bringing it to 27.

Weimar stated that most cases were related to clusters in Melbourne. However, there were 11 cases unlinked that covered a large area of Melbourne, including Airport West, Frankston and Keysborough.

Andrews stated that the Saturday decisions were extremely difficult, but that if people followed the rules, they would work.

These rules will protect life, and if we adhere to them, they will allow us to drive these numbers down and make the world more open.

Although he acknowledged that it would be difficult to shut down childcare, he said it was vital to reduce the number of children who contract the virus.

Weimar stated that there were nearly 9,000 primary contacts and more than 10,000 secondary contacts. This isolation was necessary to contain the virus.

Brett Sutton, the Victorian chief health officer, stated that it was crucial to contain spread among young children, due to their over-representation. Primary school children should wear masks indoors, if possible.

He said that some children will be able to do it. However, others will not. He stressed that this was a recommendation and not a rule.

These are difficult and important decisions, but we are willing to take our time. We do what we know to be successful. Today, 100 transmissions are saved. A month later, it's 1,000.

In the last 24 hours, more than 45,000 test results have been received. There were also 29,539 doses of vaccine given at vaccination sites.