Victorians have a crucial week ahead that will help their government make the call on whether the state follows others in easing restrictions after next weekend.
With Victoria’s state of alarm set to finish on May 11, the state government has been urged to relax its measures, especially regarding the return of students to schools.
But Premier Daniel Andrew’s cabinet has stood firm on their intentions to keep Victorians partially locked down.
Whether this changes will heavily depend on how the fight against the pandemic moves forward this week.
The state’s testing blitz that aims to complete 100,000 tests before May 11 will help in making that decision.
Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the more people were tested, the more the health department could know about the virus and how it spreads in the community.
Anyone with even mild symptoms of coronavirus has been encouraged to get tested.
Melbourne Water will be at the forefront of a coronavirus sewage sampling project aiming to help inform policy makers and health authorities about potential clusters of people infected.
The government’s description of the health emergency as “fragile” was confirmed when 13 new coronavirus cases were confirmed on Sunday.
This slight increase on cases compared to recent days brought Victoria’s total cases to 1384.
Six of the new cases are linked to an outbreak at a meat processing plant that was not named.
Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said the Department of Health and Human Services only does so for outbreaks where there is a “significant public health risk”.
Opposition leader Michael O’Brien said this meat processing plant should be treated the same way schools and hospitals and aged care facilities are.
One of the positive cases confirmed was a Victorian teacher at Meadow Glen primary school in Epping.
The Melbourne north school will be shut from Monday to Wednesday.
“The school will be closed for three days so health teams can carry out full contact tracing and we can give the entire place a thorough clean,” Premier Andrews said.
“To all the teachers and school staff out there, my heartfelt thanks. Please know that in Victoria, you will always be valued. You will always be listened to.”