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Melbourne set for a dose of freedom as Ballarat slipped back into the lockdown

Melbourne set for a dose of freedom as Ballarat slipped back into the lockdown

The positive news for the Melburnians came when Ballarat was thrown back into the lockdown to prevent an outbreak that spread to regional Victoria.

Ballarat will go into a seven-day lockdown.Credit:Penny Stephens

A seven-day blockade of the city of about 100,000 was to begin Wednesday night after it registered four cases, with more expected in the coming days.

Ballarat will be the only regional community under tight restrictions after Andrews confirmed that Shepparton was released from his lockdown after three consecutive days without new cases.

Two of Ballarat’s positive cases were authorized workers, while two others were household contacts in a case announced Tuesday.

Andrews said it was crucial that the Ballarat eruption was contained to protect the surrounding communities.

Shepparton is released from lockdown after containing a coronavirus outbreak.

Shepparton is released from lockdown after containing a coronavirus outbreak. Credit:Joe Armao

“If we get cases away from us in any part of the Victoria region, it will ultimately compromise that the whole of the Victoria region remains open.”

Andrews said more vaccines would be sent to Ballarat, which has a single-dose vaccination rate of about 70 percent.

He confirmed that additional testing services would be established, but only for people with symptoms rather than going for asymptomatic tests.

“But we want to expand websites. We are extending the operating time. We make it even easier to go and be tested. ”

Andrews said Shepparton’s successful containment of a major outbreak gave authorities confidence Ballarat could do the same. Authorities believe it is likely that there has been transmission for at least a week in Ballarat.

On Tuesday, The Forge Pizzeria, Lake View Hotel and Big W in Ballarat were listed as Level 1 exhibits.

Ballarat Mayor Daniel Moloney, who isolated himself because he had visited the pizza restaurant, said there had already been high demand for tests at the city’s three locations. But he said the lockdown was a little surprise.

“When people saw these sites on the list of exposure sites, everyone was reasonably resigned to the fact that it will get worse before it gets better,” he said.

Cr Moloney said Ballarat had approached Shepparton for lessons in dealing with a Delta eruption. The council had split its Meals on Wheels service so teams worked in different locations and made similar changes to its waste collection.

Authorities are also concerned about other communities in the Victoria region after virus fragments were detected in sewers at Aireys Inlet and Fairhaven on the Surf Coast. Barwon Health will set up additional testing services amid calls for people to come forward if they have symptoms.

Professor Sutton said he was concerned about the Surf Coast, where at least two exposure sites have been listed in recent days. “It’s always a concern to have a signal that could indicate a positive undetected case,” he said.

Another infection was detected in Geelong – a primary close contact to an existing case, and there were two more cases in Mitchell Shire.

Victorian opposition leader Matthew Guy called for a series of immediate changes to the state’s COVID-19 restrictions, including lifting Melbourne’s curfew, allowing small outdoor family gatherings, getting 11- and 12-year-olds back to school this week and bringing interstate Victorians home.

Opposition leader Matthew Guy.

Opposition leader Matthew Guy.Credit:Chris Hopkins

However, in his second week back as leader, Guy was forced to clarify his position after the first point of his media release demanded to “end the lockdown.”

He said at his press conference that this was a reference to the curfew at 9pm, which he said was enforced without medical help.

“I think we all understand that there are ways we can make changes today. If the government has a grand plan for Sunday, that’s fine. Victorians are looking for something. There are changes we can make today, ”Guy said.

The opposition leader also put his support behind Ombudsman Deborah Glass’ announcement that she would investigate Victoria’s border permit application process and said that all families with intergovernmental relations should be allowed to quarantine at home.

“Victorians should not be allowed to fall into the state, it’s completely unfair,” Guy said.

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