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Victoria records 14 new Covid cases on Friday as Premier Dan Andrews asks for ring around Sydney

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Victoria has recorded 14 new Covid-19 cases overnight with all of them linked to current outbreaks as Premier Dan Andrews asks for a ‘ring of steel’ around Sydney. 

Ten of the 14 cases were quarantining during the entire period they were infectious with one of the other four cases waiting to be interviewed.  

Victoria’s latest cluster has risen to 147 cases linked to the Sydney removalists who brought the highly-infecious Delta strain to the Victorian capital and a family who returned to the city from a New South Wales red zone. 

Premier Andrews recognised his counterpart in NSW labelling the outbreak a ‘national emergency’, saying there is a ‘national responsiblity that Sydneysiders are locked into Sydney’.

‘We will finish up with the whole country locked down if we don’t deal with this,’ he said in Friday’s coronavirus press conference.

‘If it is a national emergency there is a national responsibility to contain it now. We did it last year, the same must happen with Sydney.’ 

He said ‘any help we can provide we stand ready to do that’ but rejected any idea of providing extra vaccines from his state to NSW.

‘I have got no request for a redistribution of vaccines that have been allocated. We have barely enough vaccine allocated to any of us so the notion we would be sending it away from here – we all have got need, all of us,’ he told reporters.

‘They have been allocated fairly. If there is additional supply, I don’t hold – I am not opposed to New South Wales receiving more and in fact they have received more in the most recent Britain forward because of the difficult circumstances they face. 

‘I don’t want to be interpreting what the New South Wales government strategy is, but if it is lockdown until we all got vaxed, that is October or November. If that is the strategy, fair enough.’ 

Victoria has recorded 14 new Covid-19 cases overnight with all of them linked to current outbreaks and 4 infectious in the community

Victoria has recorded 14 new Covid-19 cases overnight with all of them linked to current outbreaks and 4 infectious in the community

There were 900 people sent into two-week quarantine on Thursday after Prahan Market became a high-risk exposure site on Saturday morning

There were 900 people sent into two-week quarantine on Thursday after Prahan Market became a high-risk exposure site on Saturday morning

Premier Andrews also hinted that the state is on track to get out of lockdown at midnight on Tuesday, July 27.

‘The trend is with us, the results are very encouraging. Whether it continues that way well only know with the passage of time,’ he said in Friday’s press conference.

‘If eveyrone plays their part and takes the lockdown seriously, if we do the right thing we’ll be open, we’ll be close to something normal and we’ll have beaten this Delta outbreak, something no jurisdiction have done once let alone twice.’  

Of the 147 cases, 71 per cent were already isolating while infectious in positive signs for residents hoping to see lockdown end and officials to take control of the outbreak. 

There are nearly 20,000 residents in a two-week quarantine after they were identified as being close contacts of positive cases from two football games. 

Of the 3,500 fans exposed to the highly-infectious Indian delta strain at the AFL game, only 74 per cent have returned a negative result so far.

Just 67 per cent of the 2,648 fans at the Wallabies game who were labelled close contracts have returned a negative test, with Victorians concerned they could be facing another lockdown similar to its 112-day stay-at-home-order from 2020.

The state’s lockdown will run until midnight on July 27, but there are fears the highly-infecious strain that has seen Sydney under stay-at-home-orders for nearly a month will see Victoria at home for an extended period. 

As many as a third of all people who have been labelled as close contacts by the Victorian government are yet to be tested – prompting fears the state could be in for another long-term lockdown.  

In Victoria, state mandate says close contacts only need a negative test on day 13 to clear protocol. Experts are calling this one-test rule a dangerous practice.

‘By day 13 it’s too late and that’s how you miss hidden chains of transmission,’ Epidemiology professor at Deakin University Catherine Bennett told The Age.  

Of the 3,500 fans exposed to the highly-infectious Indian delta strain at the AFL game, only 74 per cent have returned a negative result so far.

Just 67 per cent of the 2,648 fans at the Wallabies game who were labelled close contracts have returned a negative test, with Victorians concerned they could be facing another lockdown similar to its 112-day stay-at-home-order from 2020.

Victorians are concerned they could be facing another lockdown similar to its 112-day stay-at-home-order from 2020

Victorians are concerned they could be facing another lockdown similar to its 112-day stay-at-home-order from 2020

As many as a third of all people who have been labelled close contacts by the Victorian government are yet to be tested (pictured: Wallabies vs France at AAMI Park on July 13)

As many as a third of all people who have been labelled close contacts by the Victorian government are yet to be tested (pictured: Wallabies vs France at AAMI Park on July 13)

One of the new cases confirmed on Thursday had initially been in an area of AAMI Park classified as a Tier 2 exposure site and was allowed to leave isolation after testing negative.

The gate to his area was then increased to a Tier 1 exposure site, sending the Covid positive fan back into two-week isolation, where they tested positive. 

Professor Bennett said ‘it’s a major weakness’ in the state’s protocol that testing rates aren’t increasing and ‘quite extraordinary’ close contacts aren’t immediately told to be tested after being contacted – as is protocol in other states.

Another potential superspreader event, a Euros final watch party at the Crafty Squire in Melbourne’s CBD, has seen a quarter of fans fail to return a test. 

Covid-19 Response Commander Jeroen Weimar said officials are aware of every close contact and they will be ensuring they are following the state’s rules.

‘We know who these people are… We continue to chase them,’ he said on Thursday.

‘It’s entirely possible people would have been put off maybe two or three days ago by long testing queues.’   

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