Melbourne, the capital of Australia’s second-most populous state Victoria will enter a seven-day lockdown to control the fast-spreading outbreak.
The lockdown will start at midnight on Thursday at 14:00 GMT.
So far, the authorities have found 26 Covid cases. And about 150 sites have been identified where people might have caught the virus.
Locals are stressed and nervous, as it reminds them of the second wave that nearly destroyed the state last year.
According to Victoria’s acting Premier James Merlino, the outbreak contains the contagious B.1.617 variant of the virus, which was spreading “faster than we have ever recorded”.
“If we wait too long, this thing will get away from us.” He spoke.
If compared with the rest of the world 26 cases are extremely low, still, there are many other factors to worry about.
The probability of community cases increasing is very high because there are 10,000 primary and secondary contacts. Moreover, the circle of exposure sites has also widened. So, it will be a gig and complex job for contact tracers.
The most important thing is that not enough people are vaccinated. There have been numerous complaints about the unavailability of jabs. While in some areas, vaccines are just stored in fridges, unused.
Hence, whatever the government has been planning is not working to get enough jabs in arms.
Now, for the next seven days, Victorians will be under lockdown. They will be allowed to go out for essential work, shopping, exercise, caregiving or to get the covid vaccine. Public gatherings and travelling more than 5km of the home are strongly prohibited.
Wearing masks is compulsory. Schools, places of worship and all non-essential venues will remain closed.
In order to limit movements from Victoria, interstate travel has been blocked.
The new outbreak marks the biggest increase in community transmission of the virus since the state came out of a second wave in October 2020.
This latest outbreak has been caused by an overseas traveller who tested negative while in quarantine in South Australia. But the traveller developed symptoms and tested positive six days after flying back to Melbourne.
On Wednesday, the federal government pledged to send an extra 140,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Melbourne to boost the protection of the elderly and other vulnerable groups.