The update, which was announced this morning, comes from the development of a cluster of new cases linked to Victoria’s hotel quarantine system, currently sitting at 13.
As news.com.au reports, six of the cases have already been confirmed by genomic sequencing as having the UK’s highly contagious B117 strain — meaning it could spread a lot more quickly than the strain that took hold of Victoria last year.
“Well they are still working through those issues now,’’ Prime Minister Scott Morrison told 3AW when asked what the next steps would be. “They are assessing all of those options.”
“The short, sharp proportionate response that we saw in other states proved to be quite effective. We saw that work in Brisbane. It worked in NSW.”
We breakdown everything we know so far:
What do the experts say?
Clinical epidemiologist, Professor Nancy Baxter is backing the idea of another lockdown after two more people linked to the Holiday Inn coronavirus outbreak in Melbourne tested positive overnight.
“What I am concerned about is as the sites of the, at- risk sites grow and grow, there is the potential there has been some kind of spread outside of that group of close contacts that is already in quarantine,” she told Today this morning.
“It could be a week or more before we know it. And so then there is that opportunity for spread throughout the community, under our very noses.
“I think if there is a time to really get this under control the time probably is now. So it is a very tough decision and, you know, if there is not any further community spread it always looks like this was out of proportion, but I must say you can’t prove prevention.
“So I think this is something that the Victorian government needs to be thinking about very hard today in terms of whether the best thing for us is to go into lockdown so we don’t have a third wave in Victoria.”
When will the lockdown begin?
State government advisers met to draw up a framework for another lockdown, which could be introduced as early as Friday night, or possibly within days.
Why are authorities so concerned?
Apparently it's not only about the growing Holiday Inn cluster, but they are also understood to have worried about virus fragments detected in wastewater across Melbourne.
Where are the exposure sites?
Victoria Health added Brunetti at Melbourne Airport’s Terminal 4 to the list of Tier 1 exposure sites overnight. Anyone who visited the cafe between 4.45am and 1.15pm on Tuesday 9 February must get tested and remain isolated for 14 days.
What will this mean for the Australian Open?
Under these new rules, crowds would also be banned from the Australian Open.
What happened in Perth?
At the beginning of the month Perth went into a five-day shutdown where they were only allowed to leave home for an hour to exercise with a mask within 5km, or if they were an essential worker, needed groceries or medical supplies, were receiving health care or were supporting someone with needs.
Schools, gyms and cinemas were also shut, while restaurants and cafes could only serve takeaway.