Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has confirmed the state’s lockdown will be extended after it recorded 12 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 on Monday, with all linked to the current outbreak.
“These restrictions simply cannot end at midnight tomorrow night. That would not be the responsible thing to do,” he told reporters on Monday.
The lockdown had been scheduled to end at midnight on Tuesday. Mr Andrews would not say how long the current restrictions would last.
“For as long as it need to … not a moment longer,” he said.
But he warned that even when Victoria has dealt with the current outbreak, keeping its borders safe would remain an “ongoing challenge”.
“Unless case numbers in Sydney dramatically reduce, we’re going to have an ongoing challenge in terms of defending that border to the north,” he said.
“Making sure nobody who has this virus is coming to our state. That’s for another day, that’s principally our challenge, but we’ll be calling on the community to play their part in that for a lengthy period of time.”
The health department confirmed it recorded 13 new local infections in the 24 hours to Monday morning, one of which is a case in Mildura, previously announced by authorities.
All the new cases are linked to the current outbreaks of the Delta variant in the state, which originated in NSW.
Victoria also recorded one new infection acquired overseas, currently in hotel quarantine, bringing its total number of active cases to 81.
There are currently 15,800 primary close contacts in quarantine or isolation.
Mr Andrews described the Delta variant as a “great challenge” and said the current number of cases confirmed the decision to lock down the state was the right one.
“We have made great progress. We have avoided thousands and thousands of cases,” he said.
“If we had been open, then we would be just like Sydney with hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of cases. We wouldn’t be looking at a short lockdown but something entirely different.”
There are now more than 250 exposure sites linked to the outbreak with new sites including a number of restaurants, cafes and fitness centres across Melbourne’s north and south-east, and a Shell petrol station in Doncaster East.
The growing list of sites and restrictions can be found here.
There were 54,839 test results returned during the 24 hours to Monday and 14,758 vaccines administered.
Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania have imposed border restrictions with Victoria.
More to come…