Rings around: Premier Daniel Andrews called the Sydney COVID-19 outbreak a national emergency and called on the state’s leadership to do more to control it. Photo: DIEGO FEDELE/AAP IMAGE

VICTORIAN Premier Daniel Andrews has called for a "ring of steel" to be established around Sydney, to contain the city's growing outbreak. Mr Andrews said he agrees with the NSW chief health officer's assessment that the Sydney outbreak is a "national emergency" and says NSW had a "national responsibility" to contain it. "We will finish up with the whole country locked down if we don't do this properly," he during a press conference this morning. A "ring of steel", policed by roadblocks and mobile checks, was in place separating Melbourne from regional Victoria during the state's longest lockdown in 2020. Mr Andrews made the comments 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, and of those two are in intensive care. More than 43,000 test results were received in the 24 hours to midnight yesterday, while 14,302 vaccine doses were administered at state-run sites over the same span. Victoria's existing restrictions are set to be eased on July 27, but Mr Andrews said health authorities wanted to have as much data as possible before deciding when the lockdown would end. Also today, Police Commissioner Shane Patton revealed an Echuca publican had been arrested and fined nearly $22,000 for openly flouting health directions. Trevor Andrews of the Pastoral Hotel Echuca has been opening to patrons for three days, serving meals and drinks in defiance of the state's fifth lockdown. "We're taking it very seriously because he has just been deliberately and blatantly breaching the CHO (Chief Health Officer) directions," Mr Patton told Melbourne radio 3AW. "He's copped already two lots of fines totalling nearly $22,000 for himself. He's still got other charges now pending before the court for that third breach. Common sense has not prevailed." Meanwhile, 41 workers at a Melbourne hospital have been temporarily stood down after a fellow staffer worked a shift while infectious. The staffer worked one shift sterilising instruments at Casey Hospital during their infectious period, but wore PPE and did not have any contact with patients. Another exposure site, Prahran Market, has reopened after a COVID-19 positive shopper spent almost 90 minutes there on Saturday. The entire market was listed as a tier-one site, with about 900 people who visited around the same time period required to get tested and self-isolate for 14 days. Global construction giant Multiplex, meanwhile, has been selected to build a 1000-bed quarantine centre in Mickleham. Federal Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said work on the purpose-built quarantine facility would start in early August. The Victorian government-run facility on Commonwealth-owned land is expected to open by the end of the year when the first 500 beds are available. Victorians affected by the extended lockdown can now claim weekly disaster payments up to $600 from the federal government.   -BY AAP
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