Victoria has recorded three new cases of COVID-19 overnight as question marks loom over whether the state will exit lockdown on Friday.
A total of nine cases were detected in the past 24 hours to midnight, with six of today’s infections announced yesterday.
More than 42,000 test results were conducted in the past 24 hours. The new cases bring the cluster total to 54.
Victorians are holding onto hopes that lockdown may end on Friday, despite Acting Premier James Merlino warning the outbreak “may well get worse before it gets better”.
Epidemiologist Dr Tony Blakely told Today this morning Victoria could leave lockdown if case numbers remained low and no more mystery cases emerged.
However, if Melbourne continued to see a substantial rise in cases, including mystery infections, the ‘ring of steel’ could return allowing just regional Victoria to exit lockdown.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen on Friday but if I was to be forced to take a bet, I think what we will see – Melbourne staying in some form of lockdown, ring of steel in place and regional Victoria being allowed to not go back to normal – but something a bit more normal,” he said.
“That will happen if we see one or two mystery cases in the next couple of days. If we see no mystery cases, we may be able to release the lockdown because the contact tracing has done well at finding all the sites.”
Mr Merlino yesterday did not sugarcoat the situation, describing the state’s outbreak as “incredibly serious”.
“We are seeing a small number of cases infecting a large number of contacts,” he said.
“There is no doubt, the situation is incredibly serious.
“The next few days remain critical.”