Victoria restrictions introduced; Highpoint Shopping Centre, northern suburbs on high alert

Increased restrictions in Greater Melbourne wouldn’t be surprising in the wake of the spread of the northern suburbs outbreak, says Melbourne University epidemiologist Tony Blakely.

Dr Blakely said health authorities are probably discussing measures that would target the northern suburbs in an attempt to contain the spread, but that the outbreak may already have outrun public health teams.

There were long lines at a Northern Health COVID-19 testing clinic in Epping yesterday.

There were long lines at a Northern Health COVID-19 testing clinic in Epping yesterday.Credit:Justin McManus

“I’m sure there’s a discussion that… is happening inside the Victorian government right now about whether to do some form of tighter restrictions in the northern suburbs,” he told ABC’s Radio National. “There’s a chance it may already be ahead of us.”

He also urged anyone living in the northern suburbs to work from home, if they can.

“My advice, if you’re in the northern suburbs, and you can easily work from home, do it,” he said. “The fewer people moving around the better.”

He said in pre-COVID times, epidemiologists estimated that an infected person could transmit the virus to, on average, 2.5 people. But, in this instance, he suspected it could be as high as five.

“In pre-COVID times, if I was infected, I’d pass this on to, on average, 2.5 people. For the current virus, that might be as high as five people,” he said.

Dr Blakely said it would be a “tough day” for Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton.

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