Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has confirmed the state will start the process of opening up from its current lockdown at midnight on Tuesday, 27 July, emphasising contact tracers need more time to get on top of the outbreak that rose by 13 new cases overnight.
Four of these new cases were already reported yesterday, and nine of them were in isolation for 100 per cent of their infectious periods - a fact the Premier describes as "very promising" and that he hopes will develop as a trend.
"That's really how we will know that we bought this under control when we don't have that residual risk of it running again - of it flaring up once we open up," the Premier says.
The latest numbers take the state's total number of active cases to 85 with 18,000 primary close contacts identified, a third of whom are in regional Victoria.
"It's too early today to lift restrictions. We've seen significant and standalone outbreaks in regional areas in Phillip Island, Bacchus Marsh, Barwon Heads and as far away as Mildura," says Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton.
"Around a third of all our primary close contacts are in regional Victoria, right across regional Victoria. This outbreak has touched the whole state, and that was in a way that the Delta and Kappa outbreaks didn't do back in May and June," he says.
"Much of that is due to the super spreading events early on in this outbreak that took place in the MCC members' reserve for the Geelong-Carlton game; something that brings Victorians from far and wide and back home far and wide across Victoria."
Travel to Victoria using Red Zone Permits will be temporarily paused in a bid to run the Delta variant to the ground.
"For four weeks we've been saying to people from Victoria who are in Sydney and now in broader NSW - not the bubble but beyond that border bubble - we've been saying come home because the rules may change. Well, the rules are changing today," he says.
"The only people that will get a permit to travel from a red zone into Victoria are those who are authorised workers, and those who apply for and get a compassionate exemption to the new rules I'm announcing today.
"There will be no further as-of-right red zone travel for the next two weeks. What I cannot have happen is is hundreds and hundreds of people who were warned weeks ago to get back here who have not done that, while the situation further deteriorates and we see more and more cases...we get this outbreak under control and then we finish up with another incursion brewing," he says, clarifying there will be compassionate exemptions.
More than 49,000 people came forward for testing yesterday, and the Premier has confirmed 90,000 businesses have received support payments.
Updated at 11:49am AEST on 20 July 2021.
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