Lockdown looms as Melbourne’s Holiday Inn Covid-19 cluster grows

Victoria Police is on stand-by for enforcing lockdown orders if the Victorian government decides to implement a stay at home orders.

Deputy Commissioner Rick Nugent has confirmed he will meet with state government advisers at 11am to be briefed on their plan for how to respond to the spike in coronavirus cases caused by a leak in the state’s hotel quarantine system.

“I was chatting with the Chief Commissioner 15 minutes ago sort of thinking through what it might look like and what our role might be in that,” he told radio station 3AW on Friday morning.

Senior cabinet ministers, the Premier and public health officials met last night to consider how to respond to the outbreak, according to a state government source with knowledge of the talks, commenting on the condition of anonymity.

They said a final decision on whether to increase restrictions had not been reached, with authorities waiting on more testing data this morning before finalising their response.

Premier Daniel Andrews is expected to outline the government response at a press conference later this morning.

It comes after the cluster again swelled overnight, with another two people testing positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases linked to the outbreak to 13. One of the cases spent more than eight hours at a busy airport cafe while infectious on Tuesday.

On Friday morning, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has weighed into the discussion, supporting calls for a “short-sharp” lockdown.

He told radio station 3AW that Health Minister Greg Hunt had been in touch with Victorian counterparts overnight and that discussions about the prospect of a lockdown are “underway”.

When asked directly if he had been briefed there would definitely be a lockdown, Mr Morrison said “not at this stage”.

Victoria’s Department of Health confirmed the two new cases in a tweet at 11pm on Thursday night – stating that both are household primary contacts of previously announced cases.

Five cases in total were discovered on Thursday which were recorded in Friday’s official numbers. There are now 19 active cases in total in Victoria, with over 24,000 tests conducted on Thursday.

Authorities confirmed on Thursday there were between 400 and 500 close contacts of confirmed cases.

There are no mystery cases in Victoria – it has been 37 days since the state had a case with no known source.