Terrifying weakness that could ruin Victoria’s chances of getting out of lockdown – and the same problem spelled disaster last year
- As many as a third of all close contacts in Victoria have yet to return a Covid test
- According to state rules, close contacts only need to return a negative test on day 13
- Fans exposed to Indian delta strain at footy matches have not tested
As many as a third of all people labeled as close contacts by the Victorian government have yet to be tested – raising fears the state will face another prolonged lockdown.
Thousands of fans at two major sporting events – the Carlton vs Geelong AFL game at the MCG on July 10 and the Wallabies vs France game at AAMI Park on July 13 – have undergone strict isolation guidelines after being exposed to the virus.
Nearly 20,000 residents are in quarantine for two weeks after being identified as having close contacts with positive cases from the games, but the state mandate says they only need a negative test on Day 13 to clear the protocol.
Experts call this one-touch rule a dangerous practice.
“By day 13 it’s too late and that’s how you miss hidden transmission chains,” Deakin University epidemiology professor Catherine Bennett told me. The age.
As many as a third of all people labeled as close contacts by the Victorian government have yet to be tested (Photo: Wallabies vs France at AAMI Park on July 13)
Thousands of fans at two major sporting events, including the Carlton vs. Geelong AFL game at the MCG on July 10, have undergone strict isolation guidelines after being exposed to the virus
Of the 3,500 fans exposed to the highly contagious Indian delta strain during the AFL match, only 74 percent have had a negative result so far.
Only 67 percent of the 2,648 fans of the Wallabies match labeled as close contracts returned a negative test, while Victorians feared they could face another lockdown similar to the 112-day stay-at-home order from 2020 .
One of the new cases confirmed Thursday was initially 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 raised to a Tier 1 exposure site, sending the Covid-positive fan back into two-week isolation where they tested positive.
Professor Bennett said that “it is a major weakness” in the state’s protocol that testing rates do not increase and that “pretty extraordinary” close contacts are not immediately told to be tested after being contacted – as the protocol is in other states .
Another potential super spreader event, a final euro viewing feast 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 any close contact and will ensure they follow state rules.
“We know who these people are… We continue to chase them,” he said on Thursday.
“It’s entirely possible that people would have been put off by long testing queues two or three days ago.”
Victorians worry they could face another lockdown similar to 2020’s 112-day stay-at-home order
900 people were sent into two-week quarantine on Thursday after Prahan Market became a high-risk exposure site on Saturday morning
Victoria announced 26 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday, with just two contagious cases in the community.
The state’s health minister says the vast majority of the state’s 133 cases were isolated during their contagious period, with officials looking confident they could get the latest outbreak under control.
900 people were sent into two-week quarantine on Thursday after Prahan Market became a high-risk exposure site on Saturday morning.
Another contagious individual in the community came into close contact as he drove from East Gippsland to Melbourne and stopped at a petrol station before heading home.