Daniel Andrews warns “dramatic improvement” in self-isolation needed to avoid extended COVID-19 lockdown in Victoria

Regional Victoria

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. AAP/David Crosling.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has warned Stage 3 lockdown restrictions across Melbourne will need to be extended if there is not a “dramatic improvement” in unwell people self-isolating.

Victoria recorded 484 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, the highest single-day increase since the pandemic began.

Raising the prospect of an extended lockdown across beyond Melbourne’s six-week stay at home order, Andrews said during a press conference that public behaviour would need to improve, particularly in cases where unwell people are failing to self-isolate before getting their test results.

People moving around the community when ill, people moving around the community when waiting for a test result, that’s in no-one’s interests,” Andrews said.

“It will just mean that this lockdown lasts for much, much longer than the six weeks that we have foreshadowed.

Analysis undertaken by Victorian authorities has revealed nine in 10 people infected with coronavirus in recent weeks have not self-isolated between feeling sick and getting tested, while more than half have failed to self-isolate while waiting for test results.

The state government is currently considering whether to enhance an $1,500 payment for sick people in insecure work, or who don’t have access to paid sick leave.

“There is a large proportion of these people who are making these choices because, in their judgment, they’ll look at their bank balance, they’ll look at the fact that, if they don’t work the shift, they won’t get paid for the shift, they don’t have sick leave,” Andrews said.

About 1,200 people have applied for hardship payments so far, but Andrews was unable to say how many claims had been processed.

Currently, only people with confirmed cases and close contacts of confirmed cases are eligible for the payment, but Andrews said the government is considering expanding the criteria.

The comments about a possible extended lockdown came amid the spectre of tougher measures to contain the outbreak in Victoria, but when asked about the prospect of a ‘Stage 4’ lockdown, Andrews said no plans were currently in motion.

“There’s no announcements to be made about additional rules or changes,” Andrews said.

“What we want to do is try and drive down the number of days between when people first get sick and when they get tested.

“We want to drive up the percentage of people who are at home waiting for their test result, not at work waiting for their test result or at the supermarket waiting for their test result.”

NOW READ: “In everyone’s hands”: Victoria won’t rule out ‘Stage 4’ restrictions as Melburnians urged to wear face masks

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