Delta expands deeper into Victoria area, upsets AFL

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“I think if we come up with less than five cases a day, all tied to a chain of transmission, that would be a comfortable number to open. This is what we used last year to start loosening the restrictions, but you’re not removing them all at once, ”he said.

He said masks would be the last restriction to be removed and that it was possible for Victorians to wear masks indoors until the end of the year.

As health officials scrambled to trace the movements of the Mildura man, Prime Minister Daniel Andrews said it was proof that the virus could move “to the farthest point in our state very, very quickly”.

Regional towns were hoping to be released from lockdown by Tuesday evening, but concerns over the Mildura case and a growing number of exhibition sites near Phillip Island and Bacchus Marsh mean regional areas are unlikely to be offered a early reprieve.

“I know it’s incredibly frustrating for people who are far from Melbourne, but this virus can get to you,” Mr Andrews said. He said that while the outbreak “was unfolding as we had hoped,” he would not rule out extending the lockdown beyond five days.

University of South Australia epidemiologist Adrian Esterman said Mildura’s case made it less likely that the state would come out of lockdown after five days, although it was too early to determine.

“Although there has been a slight drop in the number of cases today, the moving average continues to rise and the [effective reproduction number] is still too high. We start to see it spreading out of the Melbourne metro. It’s very early. I would be surprised if they came out on Tuesday.

“But I think they went so fast and so hard that there’s a good chance they could get it under control, unlike NSW.”

The NSW government on Sunday said it would ban all construction, cut public transport services by up to 50% and run schools with reduced staff in a bid to slow the spread of the Delta strain across Sydney.

NSW reported another death and 105 other local cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing the epidemic’s total to 1,242 and the death toll to four.

Deakin University epidemiologist Catherine Bennett said she was not losing hope that Victoria’s lockdown would be relaxed if cases and potential contacts immediately presented themselves for testing.

Queues at the Mildura testing clinic on Sunday afternoon.

“It really stretches us. Each exhibition site with reasonable exposure results in a number of cases, ”she said.

“It’s critical that everyone shows up for testing and we identify every case in this next ring of shows. If we do, we can still do it.

“If we can’t contain it by Tuesday, we may just have to extend the lockdown for a few days. Triple the effort now will save 100 times the effort later.

COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar confirmed the Mildura case attended the Carlton-Geelong match at the MCG last Saturday, where he allegedly contracted the virus from the MCC member’s reserve.

The MCG remains one of four transmission sites of concern to health authorities, along with AAMI Park, the Young & Jackson pub and the Mrs. Frankie restaurant in Cremorne, where nearly a third of new cases have contracted the virus.

Mr Weimar said the four sites were responsible for “significant community transmission” and had forced thousands of Victorians into 14 days of quarantine.

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At least six schools have been affected by the outbreak, including Bacchus Marsh Grammar, Barwon Heads Primary School, St Patrick’s Primary School in Murrumbeena and Trinity Grammar in Kew.

A teacher from Trinity Grammar who was at MCG reportedly transmitted the virus during the rugby match and at Ms. Frankie’s restaurant. He also attended The Crafty Squire on Russell Street, where he watched the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy.

Victorian-era health director Brett Sutton urged people who attended the rugby game to check which door they entered and where they sat, and get tested if necessary. He also called on those who provided tickets for the Euro 2020 final event to The Crafty Squire to contact anyone who may have attended.

Health officials updated exposure information for AAMI Park and restaurant Ms. Frankie on Sunday, raising concerns that a sick restaurant employee was continuing to work without knowing he was infected.

There were 60 cases linked to the Victorian outbreak on Sunday, with 14,000 primary close contacts isolated across the state.

Mr Andrews said state contact tracers “were finding people very quickly” but Victoria was unable to help NSW.

“The greatest contribution we can make is to get this under control in our state,” he said.

“We help others when we can. At the moment we can’t, but I hope we can in the future. ”

Concerns are also growing about a COVID-19 cluster developing in the Tokyo Olympics Athlete Village, after two athletes tested positive ahead of Friday’s opening ceremony.

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Globally, health authorities are increasingly concerned about the risk that the Delta variant poses to young people, particularly in Australia, where those under 40 have lower vaccination rates due to the delayed deployment.

In Melbourne, the latest list of Tier 1 exhibition venues includes a number of popular CBD bars such as Emerald Peacock on Lonsdale Street and Cookie on Swanston Street.

Professor Sutton said this pattern indicates that many older Australians have already received one or two vaccines.

“This will remain a vulnerability in Australia until we have more fully rolled out our vaccination program,” he said.

“The offer remains the main constraint. You could open it to everyone, but then you would prevent other people from completing their course or even starting.

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Professor Toole said the tendency of young people to drive the Delta epidemic was happening “all over the world”.

Because more than 75% of those over 70 in Australia have been vaccinated, they are “more or less protected”, leaving the most infectious strain of COVID-19 to cling to younger people in greater numbers, he said. -he declares.

“Young people are going out more and more, both for work and for leisure. And because it’s so contagious, it will simply spread wherever most people congregate. “

With Ashleigh McMillan

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