/ 03 June 2021

More lockdown as Victoria worries about the strain

Melbourne is in for an additional week of lockdown as officials confirmed 6 new locally acquired coronavirus cases linked to the current outbreak, taking the total to 60. The rest of the state will see restrictions eased by midnight tonight if no cases in the regions are reported between now and then. The new rules for city and country are here. Acting Premier James Merlino says he and the experts are cautious because the strain they’re dealing with is spreading fast and without a lot of contact. “We’ve got to run this to ground because if we don’t, people will die,” he said yesterday.

Yeah, it’s a thing. Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton yesterday said that contact tracers have identified someone who visited a food store in the suburb of Epping contracted the virus 2 hours after a positive case had left. Another is thought to have been infected while eating outdoors at a pub in Anglesea despite no encounter with an infected person. That doesn’t mean there’s consensus from the experts about whether the Indian strain (aka the Delta strain…) troubling Victoria is significantly more infectious than other strains. But it’s a strain that’s worrisome across the world.

Which is why Premier Dan Andrews – who is still laid up with a back injury – sent some inspirational tweets last night. And yes, it’s hard, particularly for workers and businesses affected by the ongoing shutdown. Many numbers are floating around, but reports suggest the lockdown will cost the state’s economy around $1 billion over the fortnight. The Victorian Government has come to the party with $460 million in assistance, but it hasn’t taken the pressure off the Morrison Government to help out. Yesterday, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg seemed open to it, saying a longer lockdown meant a chat with Victoria about what can be done was coming. Watch this space…

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