Victoria’s chief health officer has revealed his “biggest concern” is people becoming too relaxed with coronavirus social distancing restrictions within their own homes.
Professor Brett Sutton addressed his concerns during a press conference on Saturday after the state recorded 21 new cases and seven deaths.
He said it is understandable relatives want to have close contact with visiting loved ones and may feel uncomfortable wearing a mask inside their home, but encouraged them to be safe.
“I wouldn’t stand in the way of people who want to wear a mask in the presence of those who want to be [proportional]. You can be infectious without the first onset of symptoms,” he said.
Public health authorities have raced this week to stop infections growing in the Casey and Dandenong council areas on the Melbourne's southeast rim, which now has 90 active cases.
It was revealed five in Clyde, Cranbourne North, Hallam and Narre Warren South had been linked to 34 active cases after breaching the 5km travel limit for visits, during which they didn’t wear masks.
A reporter asked Professor Sutton if he was concerned of this risk as the state opens up more and people are relaxed in such situations.
“It is a combination of indoors, which is 20 times more dangerous than outdoors, and the length of time you spend,” he said.
“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.”
Professor Sutton said he believed the suburban cluster is now under control after no new cases had been reported in the past two days.
"What we do know is people are isolating appropriately and that close contacts are in quarantine, but people have obviously been exposed to the virus and they can develop illness any time up to 14 days after having been exposed,” he said.
Premier Daniel Andrews says Victorians should be "hopeful and optimistic" about the future based on the latest figures.
Metropolitan Melbourne has a 14-day new case average of 39.3, well below the state's target of 50.
"The 14-day average ... at that level, under 40, is something that every Victorian should be positive about, proud about, and very hopeful and optimistic about for the weeks ahead," Mr Andrews said.
Despite the good news, the premier said there would be no easing of restrictions ahead of the September 28 timeline.
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