The city’s 5km limit could be up to 20km with the...

The city’s 5km limit could be up to 20km with the...
The city’s 5km limit could be up to 20km with the...
Victoria recorded six new cases on Thursday, all of which are related to known outbreaks. Allen Cheng, deputy chief health officer, said this was “about as encouraging as it gets at this point,” although he signaled continued concern about the number of cases with an unknown source.

Professor Cheng said the modeling, completed by Friday, would take into account factors such as increasing the travel limit since August 2 from five kilometers to 20 kilometers before the prime minister said “significant changes” on Sunday.

“We’re looking at everything right now,” said Professor Cheng.

“Models are running as we speak, and they should be away from the computer for the next day or so. It takes a little time to get this done. We consider all sorts of things in order to make these decisions. ”

Additional drive-through test stations opened in Shepparton on Thursday, but the long lines lasted into the afternoon as local authorities expected around 2,000 residents to be tested.

Approximately 1,300 tests were conducted on Wednesday in response to the outbreak, which was triggered by a man who did not tell contact tracers until this week that he had visited Shepparton while it was contagious on September 30th. The Shepparton outbreak has been linked to cases at the Chadstone Mall in Kilmore and Frankston, all of which are from cleaning staff who have withheld information from contact tracers. So far 59 people are infected.

Of about 350 Shepparton results received as of Thursday, none were positive, though Professor Cheng said more cases would almost certainly be picked up in the coming days.

There were 340 close contacts and 70 secondary contacts in self-isolation as of Thursday, and Goulburn Valley Health chief executive Matt Sharp, whose team led the local health response, said testing numbers would go on by the thousands through Friday.

“And that’s exactly what we want to get the latest information on how widespread COVID-19 is in the community,” he said.

Under pressure from corporate groups on the government to clarify the reopening of schedules, Treasurer Tim Pallas announced Thursday that the state budget was in deficit of 6 at the end of last fiscal year due to the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic and the summer. Bushfires were $ 5 billion.

The Prime Minister acknowledged that tight checkpoints around Melbourne are critical to protecting the regions and that NSW and South Australia reopen their borders to regional Victoria.

Peter Harriott, CEO of City of Greater Shepparton, said maintaining strong checkpoints in the Melbourne area is a difficult task.

“The reality is that the regions need people who come from Melbourne, whether they deliver to supermarkets or transport goods,” he said. “We are a major supplier of food to the nation.”

Mr Harriott said the council, in addition to Victoria Regional Development, recently took steps to ensure the cafes are checking that the guests have not come from Melbourne.

Many companies voluntarily decided to shut down in Shepparton on Thursday to prevent the virus from spreading.

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The government is considering measures such as increasing hospitality capacity, reopening more retail stores and increasing gatherings at events in regional Victoria on Sunday.

Some epidemiologists have questioned the five-kilometer limit as case numbers have fallen, despite Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the rule prevented COVID-19 cases from spilling over to previously unaffected areas of Melbourne.
Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton.Recognition:Justin McManus

Professor Catherine Bennett, chair of epidemiology at Deakin University, said she could not see the logic or epidemiological evidence that a greater radius would be safer than lifting all travel limits in metropolitan Melbourne as a whole, provided Melburnians could get out of non-essentials Reasons to continue not to travel to regional Victoria.

“It had to be a really good argument as to what would increase the risk of confusing people and risking compliance,” she said.

She said she had questioned how realistic it would be to monitor a 20-kilometer zone and said quick responses to outbreaks in places like Shepparton were far more useful in containing the spread of the virus.

“If you can get to contacts from contacts quickly enough, it doesn’t matter how far you went last week,” she said.

Tony Blakely, an epidemiology professor at Melbourne University, said he supported the government’s approach of being halfway between levels two and three of easing, but whether changes to travel rules make sense must be checked against measures announced on Sunday.

„[The five kilometre rule] seems to me to be one of the things that could be published, ”he said. “But everything we publish carries a certain risk.”

Professor Blakely said he could not weigh up whether removing a travel restriction was epidemiologically significant as he did not have access to health department data and models.

Professor Cheng warned that the number of “mystery cases” with an unknown source – the most important criterion for health authorities – was still too high in the fortnight up to October 12 at 15.

“That’s the problem, and that these mysterious cases are spread across many different LGAs [local government areas]”Said Professor Cheng, which prevented authorities from targeting tests to an area.

Victoria’s existing roadmap targeted five or less mysterious cases in the past fourteen days before freedoms such as reopening meals were allowed, although this could be revised on Sunday.

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Michael is a state policy reporter for The Age.

Benjamin is the regional editor for The Age. Previously, he was a reporter for state rounds and has also covered education for The Age.

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