Very clearly, we are not where we wanted to be. And as today’s case numbers show, Victoria is experiencing significant community transmission of coronavirus.
As a result of genomic testing, the Chief Health Officer has today advised the Government that a number of our cases through late May and early June can be linked to an infection control breach in the hotel quarantine program.
Clearly there has been a failure in the operation of this program.
The whole way through this, I’ve been upfront with the people of Victoria. And to say I’m disappointed about what’s happened would be an understatement.
I have today ordered the establishment of an inquiry, led by a former judge, into the operation of the hotel quarantine program.
I’ve also asked the Prime Minister to divert flights to other cities for the next two weeks while we reset the program under the supervision of Corrections Victoria.
The inquiry will report in eight to ten weeks.
I want to assure Victorians: no stone will be left unturned. No lead will be left neglected.
But while that is happening, we need to focus on the health situation in hand.
In just five days, some 93,000 Victorians were tested – at community centres, shopping centres and at their own front door. I want to thank everyone who came forward and did their bit.
This represents the biggest and most comprehensive testing effort in Australia. Thanks to the efforts of hundreds of nurses, ambos, doorknockers and community volunteers, we – quite literally – took testing to people’s front doors.
But sadly, frustratingly, it’s just not been enough. Too many people are still going out when they’re sick. Too many people are ignoring rules about physical distancing and pretending restrictions don’t matter. Yet still, somehow, more than a thousand people, when asked, refused to be tested. It shows us that still, somehow, too many people are not taking this seriously.
That means some tough decisions. And a return to tougher restrictions.
From 11:59pm tomorrow night, postcodes linked to these outbreaks will go into local lockdown. For now, that includes the following: 3038, 3064, 3047, 3060, 3012, 3032, 3055, 3042, 3021, 3046.
These “hot zones” will be required to return to Stage 3 Stay at Home restrictions – until at least 29 July. If you live in these locations, there will again only be four reasons to be out:
Shopping for food and supplies, care and caregiving, exercise, and study or work – if you can’t do it from home.
Wherever you can, you should do these things as close to home as you can. But if you do need to leave your postcode, those same restrictions – those same four reasons – travel with you.
We know close personal contact has been the source of the spread. That’s why we need local residents to do the right thing: assume you may be infectious – and act accordingly.
If you live outside these locations, there’s only four reasons to come in: shopping for food and supplies, care and caregiving, exercise, and study or work – if you can’t do it from home.
The businesses and facilities in these areas that have been able to recently reopen – from beauty parlours to gyms to libraries to swimming pools – will again be restricted. Cafes and restaurants will again only be open for take-away and delivery.
And regular police patrols, both in these zones and outside them, will make sure people are abiding by the restrictions.
We know this will have a very real impact on local businesses trading in these communities. We’ll help them get through this with an initial $5000 in dedicated support for businesses previously eligible for a Business Support Fund grant or a payroll tax refund.
For those parents who’ll no doubt be asking, and based on the advice of the Chief Health Officer, we expect that schools will return as planned from 13 July.
And for those families who live in these locations but have already left for their holidays – you can continue as you’d planned. But when you come home, these restrictions will apply.
My message to everyone in restricted postcodes is this: I know this will be terribly disruptive and difficult but if everyone sticks to the rules and we see transmission come down, then in four weeks the restrictions can lift.
We’re also asking for Victorians for their help to get this information out. If you know someone in one of these areas who doesn’t have the internet, who might be a bit more isolated, who might perhaps miss this message – please pick up the phone, send them a text or a message online and let them know.
And for everyone outside these zones: please, be smart, be safe and pay attention to the directions. If you don’t then your local area might be next into lockdown and no one wants that.
Very clearly, this is not where we wanted to be. I understand people are tired. We’re all frustrated. We all just want things to go back to how they once were.
And the sooner we all do the right thing, the sooner we can beat this.
We all have a part to play.
And it’s up to all of us to make this work.
Following analysis of testing results over the past two weeks including the surge in tests over the past 5 days as part of the Suburban Testing Blitz, the following postcodes have been identified as postcodes of concern and requiring additional restrictions.
|3012||Brooklyn, Kingsville, Maidstone, Tottenham, West Footscray|
|3021||Albanvale, Kealba, Kings Park, St Albans|
|3032||Ascot Vale, Highpoint City, Maribyrnong, Travancore|
|3038||Keilor Downs, Keilor Lodge, Taylors Lakes, Watergardens|
|3042||Airport West, Keilor Park, Niddrie|
|3046||Glenroy, Hadfield, Oak Park|
|3047||Broadmeadows, Dallas , Jacana|
|3055||Brunswick south, Brunswick west, Moonee vale, Moreland west|
|3064||Craigieburn, Donnybrook, Mickelham, Roxburgh Park, Kalkallo|
These postcodes will return to Stage 3 Restrictions at least until 29 July.
The criteria established by the public health team to determine areas with high rates of transmission that required additional containment was:
STEP 1: Identify priority LGA with more than 2x to state case rate
STEP 2: Review all postcodes within this LGA
STEP 3: Identify priority suburbs with more than five cases AND rate greater than 20 per 100,000
3038, 3064, 3047, 3060 (>50 rate)
3012, 3032, 3055, 3042 (>30 rate)
3021, 3046 (>20 rate)