Shepparton News




Greater Shepparton has finally emerged from its Stage 4 lockdown with the community set to enjoy the same eased restrictio­ns as the rest of regional Victoria.

The community has endured a month of harsh restrictio­ns and about one-third spent at least 14 days in strict isolation because of an outbreak of coronaviru­s.

The announceme­nt came yesterday with the restrictio­ns easing at 11.59 pm last night, the same day and time that the City of Ballarat, Victoria’s second largest regional city, was placed back into lockdown for seven days after

positive COVID-19 cases and wastewater detection.

Premier Daniel Andrews said while there were still 25 active cases in Shepparton, they were contained in isolation and the community had earned its opportunit­y to exit lockdown.

‘‘Thanks to the great work of the Shepparton community, for looking out for each other, sticking together, getting tested, getting vaccinated, staying at home and isolating away from others, they’ve done an amazing job,” he said.

After three days with no new cases, Shepparton is now considered to have crushed the outbreak, which Mr Andrews said was a credit to the Goulburn Valley community and an example to others.

‘‘They followed the rules, they stayed at home, they looked after each other and we had lots of support up there for them as well; the same can work in Ballarat,’’ he said.

It emerged that the outbreak also created a vaccinatio­n surge in Shepparton, with a 30 per cent increase in first doses administer­ed during the past two weeks.

‘‘Shepparton has shown us the way, that you can control the Delta variant, even with dozens and dozens of cases, if you can quarantine all of those contacts, get very high rates of testing and drive vaccinatio­n all at the same time,’’ Victorian chief health officer Brett Sutton said.

‘‘The uptick in vaccinatio­n in Shepparton was obviously a response to the significan­t cluster there but this is the point to make, don’t wait for a case, they could come at any day anywhere in Victoria, indeed anywhere in Australia.’’

Mr Andrews also f lagged restrictio­ns could be eased further in regional Victoria within weeks, and the decision to again isolate Ballarat was to prevent the virus’s spread.

‘‘I want to be able to take further steps to open up regional Victoria even more in coming weeks, that’s what I want to be able to do, but first of all we have to safeguard their low virus status.’’

 ?? Picture: AAP ?? Pat on the back: Daniel Andrews says the Shepparton community has earned its opportunit­y to exit lockdown.
Picture: AAP Pat on the back: Daniel Andrews says the Shepparton community has earned its opportunit­y to exit lockdown.

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