Vic pitch for Syd 'ring of steel' denied

Premier Daniel Andrews doubts vaccine doses destined for Victoria will be sent to NSW.
Premier Daniel Andrews doubts vaccine doses destined for Victoria will be sent to NSW.

Daniel Andrews' call for a "ring of steel" to be established around COVID-hit Sydney to avoid more lockdowns has not been adopted by national cabinet.

The Victorian premier agrees with the NSW chief health officer's assessment that the Sydney coronavirus outbreak is a national emergency and wants the state to take extra steps to contain it.

"We will finish up with the whole country locked down if we don't do this properly," he told reporters on Friday.

Victoria and South Australia are both locked down after the highly infectious Delta variant leaked across the border from NSW.

A "ring of steel", policed by roadblocks and mobile checks, was used to separate Melbourne from regional Victoria during part of the state's 112-day lockdown in 2020.

Mr Andrews said Victoria erected it to protect not only regional areas but the entire country, and now Sydney must do the same.

"You've got a national emergency in Sydney. Let's not have that turn into a national emergency in every part of our nation," he said.

"Sydney is on fire with this virus and we need a ring of steel put around (it)."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the proposal was raised during Friday's national cabinet meeting, but argued stay-home rules were enough to keep the virus at bay.

"It was a good opportunity, I suppose, to dispel any concerns that this was not a very strong lockdown," he told reporters in Canberra.

Earlier on Friday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said Sydney needed extra Pfizer doses to protect younger people.

Mr Andrews said he doubted vaccine doses destined for Victoria would be sent to NSW, with the prime minister confirming no change to current Pfizer allocations.

"We all have need and they have been allocated fairly," Mr Andrews said.

His comments came after Victoria reported 14 new locally acquired COVID-19 cases, all linked to known outbreaks. Ten of those cases were in quarantine for their entire infectious period.

Seven people are in hospital including two in intensive care, though neither are on ventilators.

More than 43,000 test results were received in the 24 hours to midnight on Thursday, while some 14,300 vaccine doses were administered at state-run sites during the same period.

Victoria's current set of restrictions are set to be eased on July 27, but Mr Andrews said health authorities wanted more data before deciding if the lockdown will end on time.

"The trend is with us. These results are very encouraging," he said.

Victoria's Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton agreed the state remains "on track" but indicated the Prahran Market tier-one exposure site is a key focus for contact tracers.

The popular market was shut on Thursday for deep cleaning after it was visited by an infected shopper on Saturday.

It reopened on Friday albeit with only 14 of 90 traders operating due to many staff being among the 950 people at the market forced into isolation for 14 days.

"We need to be open-minded about what might turn up over the next few days," Professor Sutton said.

Some 41 workers at a Melbourne hospital have also been temporarily stood down after a fellow staffer worked while infectious.

The staffer worked a shift sterilising instruments at Casey Hospital during their infectious period, but wore PPE and did not have any contact with patients.

Meanwhile, global construction giant Multiplex has won a federal government contract to build a 1000-bed quarantine centre in Mickleham, with work to start in August.

The Victorian government-run facility on Commonwealth land is expected to open by the end of the year at half capacity.

Australian Associated Press