World news – A hard ban threatens up to five days


The Victorians are expected to be locked again on Friday afternoon. Official confirmation is awaited.

The Herald Sun believes restrictions could look like they were in August, when there were restrictions on leaving the home, closing schools, non-essential services, and collecting restrictions.

A cabinet meeting will be held at 11:45 a.m. to present plans for the lockdown, which will last up to five days.

Prime Minister Daniel Andrews will hold a press conference this afternoon with restrictions that are expected to come into effect by the end of Friday.

« A cabinet meeting is being held to consider an early lockdown as this virus cannot sit still due to its widespread infectivity. »

The state government advisors were instructed on Thursday to work out a framework for a further lockdown that could be introduced on Friday evening or possibly within a few days.

The Herald Sun believes the national panel of medical experts was involved in emergency talks on Thursday evening.

On Friday morning, the Department of Health announced that it had registered five new locally acquired cases in the past 24 hours, bringing the number of active cases in Victoria to 19.

The worsening outbreak and lockdown discussions are due to significant concerns about virus fragments discovered in sewage in several areas in Melbourne, mostly in the northern suburbs.

A source close to Emergency Management Victoria told Herald Sun authorities they feared they have lost control of the outbreak.

The source said there were deep concerns about the failure of contact tracers to match the information they received on confirmed cases and their close contacts with the results of wastewater tests on the spread of the virus.

A new location – Brunetti in Terminal 4 of Melbourne Airport – was added to the Tier 1 exposure sites early Friday morning (see below).

Anyone who visited Brunetti on February 9 over an 8.5 hour period from 4.45 a.m. to 1.15 p.m. must immediately isolate, get a test and quarantine for 14 days.

The Brunetti employee was in close contact with a confirmed case of a Holiday Inn quarantine hotel worker and later developed the virus.

29 flights landed or took off from the domestic terminal when the infected worker was on shift.

Melbourne Airport said it was working closely with the government to support its contact tracing efforts.

Speaking of the Neil Mitchell program, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said snap lockdowns have proven useful in other states to give contact tracers a « head start ».

He confirmed that Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly and Secretary of Health Greg Hunt had been working on options with the Victorian authorities overnight.

Mr Morrison told 3AW that he would not anticipate the decisions of the state government, but said that he expected Victorians to learn more today.

Mr Morrison said he expected with an appropriate and targeted response that the state government should be able to get the outbreak under control and avoid a repeat of last year’s lengthy lockdown.

The Herald Sun expects some members of the Bundestag and staff to make their way to Canberra to attend next week’s parliamentary sessions if new border restrictions are introduced by then.

It is also understood that Thursday night’s discussions in Victoria, which included Prime Minister Daniel Andrews, were heated.

The main concern was that Victoria might fight an outbreak of the British mutant tribe, which has proven to be much more transmissible than the ones that devastated Victoria last year.

Health officials believe all cases related to the Holiday Inn outbreak, which resulted in 13 infections on Thursday, are related to the mutated bug.

Genomic testing has confirmed that six of the cases, including the family of three, which are considered « index cases », were infected with the strain and the results for the others were pending.

The restrictions could be similar to the recent five-day lockdown in Western Australia, where residents in Perth and two other regions were only allowed to leave the house for an hour to exercise with a mask within 3 miles, or if they were an essential food or medical worker Care, medical care or support for someone with needs.

Such restrictions would put an end to the crowds at the Australian Open, although it was not clear on Thursday night whether the Grand Slam would continue as players went through a 14-day quarantine and could be brought into « safe bubbles ».

Five new cases emerged as part of the Holiday Inn outbreak on Thursday, including the husbands of two food and beverage servants who worked at the Melbourne Airport hotel.

In a tweet at 11:00 p.m., the Ministry of Health confirmed that the last two cases were « primary close household contacts » of existing cases.

« It’s far from over, I’m afraid we are still in the opening quarter of the Holiday Inn outbreak, » he said.

« We have a lot to do to really make sure we solve this problem.

« What is more of a challenge with this variant is the UK variant. So we don’t yet know how easily it will spread when you get into the second and third generations of people who catch it. That will be the challenge for us now and beyond in the coming days.  »

Authorities have identified 400-500 people as having close links with confirmed cases, including Holiday Inn employees, returned travelers who have been there, and people associated with exposure sites.

The original COVID-positive family that started the outbreak were relocated from the Holiday Inn to a Medi-Hotel on February 4.

The health department said anyone who stayed at the hotel for more than 15 minutes between January 27 and February 9 was viewed as primary close contact and was asked to self-isolate, get a test, and be in isolation for 14 days to stay.

Camberwell Grammar was closed on Thursday after a non-teaching staff member tested positive. It is not clear whether this member was among the 13.

Mr Weimar said Thursday the tracing efforts have been centered in the Sunbury area. Several companies were listed as exposure sites.

The health department said anyone who stayed at the hotel for more than 15 minutes between January 27 and February 9 was viewed as primary close contact and was asked to self-isolate, get a test, and be in isolation for 14 days to stay.


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