Lockdown extension expected of at least three days as Victoria records nine new cases

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Victoria has recorded nine new local cases of coronavirus, on top of four announced on Monday, as the government prepares to announce how long the state’s fifth lockdown will be extended.

Authorities received 49,454 tests and 17,083 Victorians received a vaccination dose. There were two new cases in hotel quarantine.

The health department said of the 13 new locally acquired cases, 12 have been linked to the current outbreaks and one is under investigation.

On Monday, a government source speaking on the condition of anonymity said to expect an extension of at least three days but that the lockdown could also be extended into next week.

Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed the state’s stay-at-home orders, which had been due to end at 11.59pm on Tuesday, would be extended, but said the length of the extension was still being considered.

Mr Andrews said the government was not shooting for a run of zero cases before lifting restrictions but hoping for no mystery cases and for future cases to be isolated for their infectious period.

“That would be the perfect outcome,” he said. “Sometimes you can achieve that, sometimes you can’t. If you can’t, then you have to make a really challenging risk judgment about … what’s the risk if we open up under those circumstances.”

Of Monday’s 16 cases, one was a contact of a Mildura man who attended a Carlton-Geelong match at the MCG, four dined at the Ms Frankie cafe in Melbourne’s Cremorne, one was a contact of a case who travelled to Phillip Island, one is connected to the Young & Jackson pub, two are students at Trinity Grammar in Kew and one is connected to Bacchus Marsh Grammar. One of these cases was fully isolated for all of the time they were infectious.

It comes as Australian researchers have concluded that federal government research investment largely failed to produce useful findings about the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 and placed too much focus on the now-discredited hydroxychloroquine treatment.

A team of six medical research experts issued the damning indictment of taxpayer-funded COVID-19 research and called for reform of the sector in a paper published in the Medical Journal of Australia on Monday.

In an accompanying comment piece, three other researchers estimated the federal government’s signature Medical Research Future Fund spent $6.8 million on seven clinical trials that recruited fewer than 10 people at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars per volunteer.

Quiet Melbourne roads on Tuesday morning. Credit:Jason South

The federal government did not fund trials to address the question of how to encourage people who are vaccine-hesitant to get a COVID-19 jab. Other trials were set up in a way that made it close to impossible for them to provide useful data.

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