After the first full day of a new lockdown, Victorians will learn today how far the coronavirus has spread.
Health authorities will spend the weekend urgently trying to reach people who may have crossed paths with confirmed COVID cases amid hopes the new lockdown has been introduced soon enough to control the spread of the virus.
The current cluster has grown to 30 people with more than 1400 primary contacts, and Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton has warned numbers may still spike today.
Most concerning is a positive COVID-19 case who had no symptoms and worked during their infectious period for a large food distribution centre. That person visited multiple stores across Melbourne “on May 18 and 19 and on other days”.
“Significant contact tracing work is underway to identify all close contacts of this positive case,” the department said alongside an updated exposure list “published urgently”.
Additional Defence Force personnel have been requested by the Victorian Government to help enforce stay-at-home measures during the seven-day “circuit-breaker” lockdown, which is due to end at 11.59pm on June 3.
Professor Sutton warned the lockdown didn’t remove the risk of spread and higher case numbers could emerge at the weekend.
“You really never know what to expect. Of course, four (new cases on Friday) is better than 10. It is not over yet,” Professor Sutton said.
“We can get 10 tomorrow, 20 tomorrow, we absolutely have to recognise that there are thousands and thousands of close contacts still to go through.”
Further frustrating authorities is fears “Lockdown 4.0” will not be taken seriously enough to slow the new outbreak.
“This footage is beyond infuriating — Victorians will be rightly frustrated at these people who selfishly flouted the rules just before lockdown,” the spokesperson said.
“Irresponsible gatherings like this put us all at risk — and it’s insulting to all the Victorians working hard to prevent another outbreak of coronavirus in our community.
“This footage has been referred to the appropriate authorities for investigation, and they will take action as necessary.”
The footage has been forwarded to relevant authorities, who are investigating.
Despite isolated incidences, there is “real cause for hope” that the quick lockdown will be enough to control the outbreak, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said.
“We said yesterday we thought this was a regrettable, but necessary step given the circumstances on the ground,” Mr Hunt said.
“There is, however, real hope with the results overnight (Thursday).”