| 17 June 2021, Thursday | النسخة العربية

Australia’s Victoria state urges patience on COVID-19 lockdown end date

Australia’s Victoria state authorities announced on Tuesday that it remained unclear whether a snap one-week lockdown to contain a fresh coronavirus outbreak would end as planned on Thursday night, as the state struggles to with a growing virus outbreak.

Australia’s second-most populous state was plunged into the lockdown on May 27 after the state recorded its first locally transmitted cases in about 3 months early last week, which compelled its near 7 million residents to remain home except for essential business.

Nine new locally acquired infections were reported on Tuesday bringing the total infections in the clusters to 54. Tuesday’s data includes 6 cases announced on Monday which were recorded after the midnight cut-off deadline.

Victoria state Health Minister Martin Foley told reporters in Melbourne: “I don’t know if there is going to be an extension or not.”

Foley noted that “significant concerns” remained about community transmission as multiple venues were added to the hotspot list.

“We are not yet in a position to make that call … and as soon as we are, we will be sharing that with all Victorians,” he added.

Nearly 75% of the 4,800 primary contacts traced in the outbreak have now returned a negative test, with results awaited for the rest. Officials said they could trace all 3 clusters to the overseas traveler who tested positive days after finishing quarantine.

Stringent restrictions on movement, snap lockdowns and regional border controls largely helped the country escape the higher COVID-19 tally in many other developed countries. So far Australia has reported over 30,100 cases and 910 fatalities.