Victoria may introduce more restrictions with 1 in 4 Covid-19 circumstances …

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Victorian premier Daniel Andrews hints that further lockdowns may be introduced in the coming week as the state records 627 new cases of Covid-19 and eight new deaths.

The premier did not make any announcements on Friday in relation to tightening physical distancing restrictions but said a team of experts would be examining data and formulating a plan over the coming days.

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Victoria may introduce more restrictions with 1 in 4 Covid-19 cases …

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“We could not open up with these numbers, even with significantly less than those numbers,” he said.

“So it may well be the case … that we need to take further steps. That the steps we’ve taken are not enough to pull this up.”

Victoria may introduce more restrictions with 1 in 4 Covid-19 cases …

“Exactly what that will be, when it will be, how long it would need to operate for, all of that would be for another day.”

This comes as Melbourne and Mitchell Shire reached the halfway point of the original six-week lockdown on Wednesday this week. Andrews did not stipulate a timeline for when the next steps would be announced.

“I’m not indicating that there’ll be a series of further announcements to be made on any particular day,” he said.

One possible source of new infections is recently diagnosed people failing to self isolate.

Andrews said one in four people with Covid-19 were not found at home when the Australian Defence Force door-knocked their homes on Thursday.

“Disappointingly I have to inform you that there were more than 13o unsuccessful visits, so around one in four people could not be found at home,” Andrews said.

“There may be a handful of people where the address didn’t actually align, there may be a handful of people who are isolating somewhere else but none of those quite logical points would explain the numbers that we are seeing.”

Around 100 cases have been referred to police, but Andrews said he was not currently considering raising penalties.

“We think that those penalties are appropriate at this stage but I would just say, if Victoria Police came to me and said: ‘We need to change that, we need further tools’, then I wouldn’t hesitate to look at that.”

Of the eight deaths, two were men in their 50s, three were men in their 70s, three were men in their 80s and the eighth was a woman in her 70s. Andrews confirmed that four were residents in aged care.

Despite another day above 500 cases, chief health officer Brett Sutton said the lockdowns had been effective at reducing the number of people each Covid-19 positive person infects.

“The stage 3 restrictions had a really significant impact and people should be gratified by the fact. The effective reproduction number was probably at 1.75 or close to two. It’s come down to one.”

Sutton said the analysis of data over the coming day would explore which workplaces were the most affected, including those working in medical and aged care settings.

“It’s of huge concern to see healthcare workers developing illness. It is not always straightforward to understand how they have acquired their illness … We do need to dig down to it to understand exactly how that is happening,” he said.

Another highly impacted industry is meatworks and abattoirs. But Andrews said New Zealand style “stage four” restrictions would not necessarily solve this problem as it’s considered as essential service.

“One of the challenges we face is many of the settings, where we have seen significant outbreaks would, on any given list, most likely remain open. That is a significant challenge for us,” he said.

“Next steps will be as much about mystery cases out in the community, as they will be about outbreaks in large workplaces.”

An additional 94 “community transmission” cases with no known source were added to Victoria’s total today.

When numbers dipped into the 200s earlier in the week there was tentative hope that Victoria may have reached the peak of the second wave. Sutton said the government was “rolling with the punches” in relation to the latest uptick.

“Everyone is hoping that the additional interventions we have made along the way will be kicking in day in, day out. To see it not turn the corner is absolutely a cause of frustration, not least because it is not just a number. These are peoples’ lives and we know the consequences.”

More than 5,000 people have now applied for the $300 supplement available to those awaiting test results. Andrews said 4,200 of these payments have been made, totalling $1.26m.