The Ministry of Health is advising Kiwis who have recently travelled to Victoria to check a growing list of locations of interest as health chiefs across the ditch warn locals to “ready themselves” for further cases in the state’s most recent Covid outbreak.
The ministry says it is “actively monitoring” the situation but is not recommending closing our travel bubble with Victoria.
“The ministry’s current assessment is that the public health risk is appropriately managed through the actions taken by Victorian health authorities.”
It advises anyone who has visited Melbourne since May 11 to monitor for symptoms and seek advice on testing from Healthline if any develop.
The ministry also warned potential travellers that the situation could quickly change.
“Anyone planning to travel to Victoria should take into account that advice from health authorities could change at any time and be prepared for their travel plans to be disrupted,” it said.
It also told Kiwis to check the growing list of locations of interest.
In Victoria, locals are getting to grips with their new reality after four fresh cases of Covid ended the state’s 87-day run without a new case.
Testing sites are opening as a supermarket, shopping centre and swimming pool are named as locations of interest.
Victoria’s chief health officer, Brett Sutton, warned the state could see more cases.
The first case was “likely quite infectious”, he said on Monday, adding residents “have to ready ourselves”.
The concern is that the infectious man, who was displaying symptoms on May 20 but was likely infectious as early as May 18, had been out in the community for three days.
“The viral load was high and with close contacts becoming positive, he is likely to be quite infectious,” Sutton said.
“There [was] not a huge number of close contacts but we have to go through the interview process to identify anyone else.
“We have to ready ourselves for any other positives and when there are close contacts who do become positive, that raises the possibility that even a casual contact could become positive as well.”
Thing that could spark Melbourne lockdown
So far no new restrictions have been brought in across Melbourne following its new Covid-19 cluster, with one expert revealing what it could take to send the city back into lockdown.
Victorian officials announced on Monday that four people had tested positive to coronavirus, including a man in his 30s, a man in his 70s, a woman in her 70s and preschool-aged child.
All of the new positive cases belong to the same family but are spread across two households in the Whittlesea local government area.
There were no new restrictions announced on Monday, despite the source of the cluster remaining a mystery, with Health Minister Martin Foley saying a decision would be made as more information came to light.
“We’re not ruling further measures in or out and as further information comes to hand the evidence will determine our response,” he said.
Deakin University Chair of Epidemiology Professor Catherine Bennett told Sky News previous coronavirus scares have proven lockdowns are not always necessary if contact tracing is fast and effective.
She said if Victoria sees a spike in cases over the next few days then a lockdown may become necessary to help contact tracing efforts.
“It’s only really if you’ve got evidence of unseen or undetected transmission occurring more widely that you might then make the call that you need to give the health department more time to catch up,” Professor Bennett said.
She said it is likely authorities will be able to determine the cause of the outbreak “in the next day or two”.
– Additional reporting, News.com.au
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