New Zealand’s quarantine-free travel pause with Victoria will be extended another six days, the Government has announced. New Zealand citizens will be able to fly home from 11.59pm on June 8, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said.
Victoria has recorded 11 new cases of Covid-19 in the community.
Health authorities confirmed the new cases just after 11am (NZT). No new cases in managed isolation were identified.
That takes the number of active cases in Victoria to 94.
It has been two weeks since the first Covid-19 cases in the state emerged. The case numbers over the weekend were low, and authorities have given Victorians hope that the state’s outbreak is under control.
One issue irking health authorities is the fact that a newer West Melbourne cluster involving the more infectious Delta variant is still of unknown origin.
The outbreak in West Melbourne has grown to 10 cases of the Delta variant with a primary school teacher the latest to test positive.
There are now three outbreaks with unknown sources in the state: the Whittlesea outbreak, which began with the Wollert man who left hotel quarantine in early May; the Arcare aged care outbreak; and the Delta variant outbreak in West Melbourne.
Victoria’s deputy chief health officer, Allen Cheng, said the “upstream” risks of a separate West Melbourne cluster was now the primary concern preventing an easing of restrictions.
“It is fair to say that, with the passage of time, we get more comfortable with unknown sources of cases if they have no transmission going on after one to three weeks,” Cheng said.
“We always have a baseline level of concern where we don’t know where there is a case … but I think we are more worried about the origin of the Delta variant at this stage.”
Victorian Acting Premier James Merlino said the lockdown was likely to run until midnight on Thursday as planned.
However, Merlino warned the state was living in a “different environment” with the new variant compared to its lockdown last year.
“There’s a reason why public health is so concerned about the Delta variant,” he said. “It is much, much more infectious than what we were dealing with last year.”
Merlino said it was his “expectation” that the lockdown would end on Thursday, but that the decision would ultimately be based on public health advice.
“We’ve just got to drive this thing to the ground.
“We do not have the luxury of picking and choosing the public health advice that we receive.”