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Mystery cases biggest challenge to contain virus

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews cited the hundreds of “mystery” coronavirus cases as the main reason his government was forced to announce a Stage Four lockdown restrictions on Sunday.

There are currently 760 active coronavirus in Victoria that have no known source and Mr Andrews has warned the number is set to rise.

“I want to highlight one number in terms of daily numbers that is in many respects the most important number,” he said during a briefing on Sunday.

“As of today — and this number will only grow because there are 598 cases that are being investigated by our public health team — but as of today from work that‘s been undertaken in recent days, we have 760 mystery cases.”

Today Victoria recorded 671 new cases, and seven deaths.

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Mr Andrews explained the graveness of the situation regarding mystery cases.

“They are active cases — cases where we can’t trace back the source of that person’s infections,” he said.

“Those mysteries (show) that community transmission is in many respects our biggest challenge and the reason why we need to move to a different set of rules.

“The number of mystery cases, the number of community transmission traces has steadily grown and now at an unacceptably high level and that’s why the advice (regarding a Stage Four lockdown) has changed.”

Mr Andrews admitted that although 700 mystery cases didn’t seem like a huge number, it was a massive cause for concern.

“The notion of 700 perhaps doesn’t seem a very high number in the context of some of the challenges we’ve had to describe and deal with,” he said.

“That many mystery cases where we just can’t track back who you got it from, how and when, that’s when it’s really challenging.

“What that says to you if there’s that many mysteries you know about, how many cases don’t you know about?

“That’s when you have to take an abundance of caution and say let’s get this to the point where it’s down to a very small and manageable number.”

“If you’ve got that many cases – and they’re not just in metropolitan Melbourne, they’re in regional Victoria as well – if you have that many cases of community transmission you must assume you have even more and on that basis you can no longer be confident that you’ve got a precise understanding of how much virus is there.”

“You have to err on the side of caution — err on the side of caution and go further and harder.”

From 6pm tonight the state will go into a Stage Four lockdown.

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