“It is a combination of indoors which is 20 times more dangerous than outdoors. And the length of time you spend.
“There are brief encounters indoors, as you get your takeaway coffee, it is much less of a risk. But if you are indoors for a protracted period of time that is exactly when transmission occurs. People need to be aware of that.”
Since Monday, Victorians living alone have been allowed to visit a ‘bubble buddy’. Regional Victorians can now host up to five visitors from one nominated household.
A cluster of 34 in the city of Casey, thought to be spread by people visiting each other at home, is now under control, Professor Sutton said. He apologised on Saturday after he linked that spread to some members of the Afghan community.
“Members of the community might have felt singled out by statements I made recently. That was absolutely not my intention. So, sorry. It is a country I love and respect. I apologise.”
Premier Daniel Andrews says the low numbers showed the government’s strategy was working – not that Victorians could afford to relax it.
“Those numbers tell a powerful story of what can be achieved when you stay the course,” Mr Andrews said.
“Logic, commonsense, international our own experience shows us that you can’t hope to keep numbers low until you first get them low. That is just an undeniable fact,” he said.
To trigger an easing of lockdown restrictions on September 28, the new cases must average between 30 and 50 over 14 days.
Thirteen of the new cases are connected to known outbreaks, eight are ‘mystery cases’ from an unknown source.
The last time Victoria recorded a lower number of new daily infections was on June 24, when the state recorded just 20 infections.
That was the beginning of Victoria’s second wave; just a week later, the state would record 75 infections.
Another 11,900 tests were done on Friday, Premier Daniel Andrews said.
“To everyone who has got tested, thank you so much. And anyone who has got symptoms, the only thing to do, don’t wait until Monday, don’t wait a moment, go and get tested,” the Premier said.
“There are more than 200 sites, it is a very quick turnaround, 90% of results are back within 24 hours. It is a massive thing that you can do. Simple but so, so important.”
It may not be enough for tens of thousands of elderly Victorians facing a lonely summer as the state’s aged care homes remain in some form of COVID-19 lockdown. Visits from friends and family will be strictly limited well into 2021.
Premier Daniel Andrews said visiting residential aged care will not return to normal until a vaccine becomes available or until a rapid test was developed that could screen visitors as they arrive.
Liam is The Age and Sydney Morning Herald’s science reporter