'Couple of minutes': Worrying supermarket detail as millions warned

·3-min read

Health authorities are urging Victorians to exercise caution in supermarkets, saying the transmission of Covid-19 can occur 'within minutes' of shoppers using the same checkout. 

"We know that that transmission has sometimes occurred with very little contact," Victoria's Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said on Saturday.

"We've had CCTV that's just shown transmission between people going through the same checkout within a couple of minutes."

Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton speaking at Saturday's press conference.
Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton urged people to be careful in supermarkets. Source: AAP Image

Professor Sutton said the sheer volume of people going through supermarkets meant everyone must be vigilant and adhere to the Covid-safe guidelines advised by the government.

"That doesn't mean that's how all transmission might occur, it doesn't make us high-risk necessarily, but with literally hundreds of thousands — millions — of people going through those supermarkets setting every single day, we do need to say look, make sure that you're Covid safe as much as you can be," he said.

CHO urges people to be more Covid-vigilant at supermarkets

"Supermarkets and shops are absolutely essential— everyone will go there at one point in time," Prof Sutton acknowledged.

"They're not high risk but they are inherently high volume for contacts."

Prof Sutton also reminded Victorians one person per household could visit the shops per day.

"Think about your minimising your exposure, think about keeping your distance. Don't be caught up in an exposure site," he said.

"If you can click and collect for your shopping please do so. 

"Check in with the Covid-safe QR code, wear a mask and keep your distance."

A man walks towards a Woolworths checkout.
Professor Sutton said CCTV showed transmission had occurred 'within minutes' among people using the same checkout. Source: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

The chief health officer reminded people to wear their face masks properly.

"A mask worn on a chin does bugger all," he said. 

"If you are breathing through your nose, that is an issue. You will transmit to others if you are Covid-positive.

"We can all do better, but this is an invisible virus. We don't feel the risk and the threat with someone standing next to us necessarily because we can't see that they are unwell and they may not be unwell. 

"We just need to work on the assumption that we are at risk when we are in proximity to people when we've got that interaction."

Year 12s have priority booking

Victoria's Year 12 students can start booking priority vaccine appointments at one of the state-run vaccination centres across Victoria from Monday.

The news comes as the state records one of the strongest vaccination figures since the rollout began.

"They were an additional 47,000 bookings made yesterday, 25,000 AstraZeneca bookings are still available over the next seven days, so please get in now and take those up," Prof Sutton said on Saturday.

"There has been 2,000,550 doses administered in total through state-run centres, and we are now almost two-thirds of the way through our target in five weeks. We have 373,576 doses to go, and on the current trajectory we will get there a little bit early, so that is good news."

Victoria reported 190 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, down from the 208 infections reported a day earlier.

Premier Daniel Andrews is working on plans to give vaccinated residents more freedoms with discussions underway with industry to see how a "vaccinated economy" would work.

He has also confirmed the government is working on a home quarantine program to bring stranded Victorian residents home from NSW.

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