Another three Covid-19 cases discovered in Victoria

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​Concern rises in Victoria as new Covid-19 cases are discovered. In total there have been nine fresh recorded cases, with three found recently on Tuesday after the government's daily Covid-19 press release. That makes 54 Covid-19 cases in total, including the hotel quarantine incident.

Two of the affected individuals were primary close contacts. The third, however, was not, which means they were not in quarantine before testing positive. Health Minister Martin Foley is certain that the source of the infection will be found, as well as all the other exposure sites the individual may have visited.

“It’s a real cause for concern that it’s someone who is not on our network, so we therefore indeed contact trace from scratch, we need to find their exposure sites,” Jeroen Weimar Covid-19 response commander also added.

So far, there are 320 exposure sites around Victoria, including two shops within Footscray Market. The complete list is available on the Victorian government website.

“What we are seeing now clearly is people who are … brushing past each other in a small shop, they are going around a display home, they are looking at phones in a Telstra shop,” Mr Weimar said on transmission in these exposure sites.

“This is, relatively speaking, relatively fleeting contact. They don’t know each other's' names. And that’s very different to where we’ve been before.”

Mr Weimar urges anyone who has visited any of these exposure sites to come forward for testing immediately. The sooner they get tested, the faster contact tracing can be completed.

Read: Mass testing and ‘ring fences’: Victoria’s stage three COVID-19 response

Victorian Lockdown may be extended

Victoria’s state-wide lockdown was scheduled to end at 11:59 pm on Thursday, 3rd June. However, it may be extended if the current outbreak is not controlled. Speaking on the situation, Health Minister Foley said, “There continues to be significant concerns around ongoing transmission in particular our northern suburbs and many large exposure sites that have been added… over the last 36 hours.”

A bulk of the complications come from the fact that authorities are dealing with a new variant. Having originated from India, it is thought to be much more infectious than the strains seen during the second wave.

“Our public health team are currently weighing up whether there is still coronavirus circulation in these communities and we still consider our response to the current outbreak on a day-by-day basis,” he added.

“It’s certainly the fastest-moving outbreak I think we’ve seen anywhere in Australia for a long time. So I’m not taking this one lightly at all. I’m confident that we are doing everything that we possibly can to get on top of it,” Mr Foley also said.

Eight in ten members of the RACGP want to see improvements in advocacy

The RACGP member census revealed obvious and shocking information about how members feel. For example, an overwhelming 70% of GPs value their membership in RACGP. However, 80% wish they could see improvements in areas like advocacy.

In response, the organization promised to offer support to its members. These efforts will be directed to areas the census identified as most vital, including increasing government funding of the primary health system and resolving issues with the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS). The RACGP will also focus on reducing bureaucracy in the health system.

“Part of my presidential platform was to open up the college and get more members involved and understand what is happening. Our superpower is [that] we are the largest medical college. We offer balanced evidence-based commentary and support a diversity of views,” RACGP president Dr Karen Price said.

The RACGP also launched the engageGP forum, a virtual event that allows members to share their voices. According to MC Dr Sally Cockburn, “The engageGP forum gives members a platform to be heard and is an important part of the RACGP’s advocacy.”

Read: GPs are key to border reopening

Elderly and healthcare workers may not have a choice on the covid-19 vaccine

Health Minister Greg Hunt asked the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee to consider making the Covid-19 vaccine mandatory for aged workers.

“In terms of mandatory, we are referring that question again to the medical expert panel of state chief health officers and commonwealth officials, so that has been referred to at the request of the prime minister and myself,” Mr Hunt said.

This isn’t the first time such recommendations have been made, especially for the aged population. In January, the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee offered strong recommendations to get vaccinated. But back then there was little data about the vaccine’s effectiveness.

Read: Podcast Transcript: ReginaCowie - National Health Services Manager at Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (API)

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