Victoria’s sixth lockdown will extend after recording 92 new COVID-19 cases in the community on Sunday.
It is the highest daily total recorded in the state since September 3 last year when Victoria recorded 112 new cases in one day.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the increase in cases, which takes the state total to 773 active local infections, was far too high for health authorities to consider lifting restrictions.
“We see far too many cases today for us to seriously consider opening up later on this week,” he said.
“It is not clear how many new cases were in the community while infectious, but health authorities say they will be providing more information later today.
“It’s not going to be possible for us to be able to open up our Victorian communiity in just a couple days time.”
Victoria’s sixth lockdown set to be extended by at least one week
More than 51,000 Victorians came out on Saturday to get tested as well as more than 31,000 jabs administered.
Victoria was set to come out of lockdown on Thursday, but given the increase in cases the Premier said it was highly unlikely.
Mr Andrews said it was “only fair that we be as upfront as possible” to make it clear the state will “not be able to open up”.
“We will get advice in coming days, decisions will also be made and they will be announced very soon thereafter as we always have done,” he said.
“These are difficult numbers, but if you look to the experience in, say, New South Wales at the moment, I’m sure there are many thousands of nurses, many thousands of doctors, who are struggling with the fact that they will very soon, it would seem, have a thousand patients in hospital.
“I know there is pain and there is challenge and it’s tough, but this getting completely out of hand, is so much harder. So much harder.”
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The Premier said there was as yet no advice from the state’s Chief Health Officer as to when it would be safe to reopen.
“Clearly whilst we are containing this and it’s not getting to the point where we’ve got 1000 cases a day and sadly very soon NSW will have 1000 patients in hospital, we are avoiding that,” he said.
“But we still have too many cases that are in the community for too long for us to be able to open up and give back to Victorians whether that be in Melbourne or across the state, those freedoms that we cherish and those freedoms that we desperately want back.”
Of the 92 locally-acquired cases, 61 have been linked to existing cases while the other cases are under investigation.
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Mr Andrews again stressed the urgency of getting tested, warning of the likelihood of greater spread of the virus.
“If you have symptoms for days and days and you convince yourself it is not coronavirus and you can safely ignore those symptoms only to go and get tested the chances are, it’s almost certain you will have infected everybody in your household, everybody that you love and care for will be positive with this virus,” he said.
Despite continuous calls for testing and vaccinations, Victoria experienced a “very strong vaccination day” with more than 31,000 jabs administered in state clinics on Saturday.
Saturday’s jab total was a massive 20 per cent increase on the previous week.
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The Victorian Premier urged residents particularly in Melbourne’s north and west to follow the rules and continue to get tested after he revealed 500 of the nearly 800 active cases are centralised in those areas.
“That’s not to single out the north and the west, but it is to make the point – the numbers don’t lie – that is where the cases are and that’s where the extra effort has to be,” he said.
“So everybody has got to follow all the rules all the time. Everyone who has got symptoms across the board, but most particularly in the north and the west because of the volume of cases, you’ve got to come forward and get tested as soon as you register those symptoms.
“The rules are across the board but an extra special effort in the north and west – proud communities, brilliant communities, but this is where the virus is and this is where our focus needs to be.”
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Mr Andrews also said Victoria had “options available to us” which were not available in other states not to purely rely on vaccinations to exit restrictions and lockdowns.
“We have to make further decisions. These numbers are too high. The question gets asked repeatedly by me and others, ‘are we a chance to drive these numbers down to very low numbers’ and the answer is yes,” he said.
“We are still a chance to drive this down to very low numbers and then be able to ease. Open up? We have to wait and see, but we will have options.
“We have options available to us with low numbers and if we can get them even lower, we have options better than other areas of the country.”

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