“The week ahead probably won’t be all zero cases,” Professor Sutton said. “We have thousands of primary close contacts, some of who will become positive.”
There were 4300 close primary contacts in isolation across Victoria as of Thursday.
Victorian government defends outdoor mask-wearing
Professor Sutton defended the state government’s rules around mask-wearing outdoors, arguing outdoor settings “shouldn’t be dismissed” as potential exposure sites.
While the state’s COVID-19 rules have eased, heavy restrictions remain: masks are still required outdoors and indoors when away from home, including in workplaces where QR code check-ins are set to become mandatory.
Melburnians can now travel within a 25-kilometre radius from their home and home visits are still not permitted, but those in metropolitan areas can now meet outdoors in groups of 10.
Schools in metropolitan Melbourne have reopened on Friday, but due to extreme weather, the Department of Health has closed a number of kindergartens and education facilities.
Professor Sutton said health authorities were reviewing the lockdown settings all the time, and he was currently “not nervous about opening up”.
“[Masks] still reduce transmission substantially, people move in and out of indoor and outdoor areas all the time, and it is not always easy to judge how close others are,” he said.
“It will, especially if both individuals are wearing a mask at the same time, reduce the transmission risk.
“It is a substantially smaller risk, that is why we encourage a whole lot of activities to take place
outdoors, and for individuals to meet outdoors, but [transmission] still occurs.
“Obviously we do not want to impose things that are excessive, but it is always under review, because the risk remains until we have run all of this down.”
Elective surgeries to restart in Melbourne from Tuesday
Melbourne hospitals will be able to restart normal elective surgery lists from Tuesday.
There were more than 17,000 test results received across Victoria on Thursday.
During the COVID-19 update on Friday, Acting Premier James Merlino said the lack of new local cases reported was the “news I know everyone in Victoria wanted to hear”.
He said hospitals would be working hard to clear the backlog of surgical cases in metropolitan Melbourne as quickly as possible.
“It is not as simple as flicking a switch. Hospitals need time to scale up,” Mr Merlino said. “They need staff and resources available to ensure that Victorians needing surgery will receive world-class care that our health services have always provided.”
Concern over virus fragments
A number of new viral fragments have also been found in Melbourne suburbs between June 3 and 7.
Anyone in Glenroy, Hadfield, Oak Park, Pascoe Vale, Burwood East, Forest Hill, Glen Waverley, Scoresby, Vermont South, Wantirna South, Wheelers Hill, Balwyn, Balwyn North, Blackburn, Blackburn, North, Box Hill, Box Hill North, Bulleen, Doncaster, Doncaster East, Donvale, Mitcham, Mont Albert, Mont Albert North and Nunawading between those dates are being urged to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and get tested if the symptoms develop.
Singapore travel bubble being considered: Dutton
Defence Minister Peter Dutton has signalled he wants to see a travel bubble with Singapore up and running “as soon as possible”.
“Singapore has managed COVID very effectively like Australia, and we want to see an extension of the travel bubble arrangement that we’ve got with New Zealand, which has worked really well,” he said on the Today Show on Friday.
Mr Dutton said the bubble could be trialled by allowing international students from Singapore into Australia.
“It’s not going to happen tomorrow, but let’s work toward it as quickly as we can.”
With Daniella White
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