As Victorian health authorities spent the night debating a five-day lockdown for Melbourne, TV and sporting personality Eddie McGuire appeared on TV claiming a five-day lockdown was set.
McGuire, appearing on Channel Nine's Footy Classified on Wednesday night, said "government sources" told him a five-day lockdown will be announced on Thursday morning.
McGuire was speaking on the Victorian Covid cases rocking the AFL world, claiming there would be "no crowds" at the weekend's matches.
"My information from government sources is tomorrow morning it may well be announced there will be a five-day lockdown in Victoria," McGuire said.
Authorities have not confirmed if a lockdown is in fact taking place but it is understood officials are considering a five-day snap lockdown to help manage the latest cluster of cases.
"That is information coming through at the moment, unconfirmed. Wait for tomorrow but the information is it could be a five-day lockdown which would mean no crowds at the football," McGuire added.
Victoria's Covid-19 infections spiked on Wednesday with health authorities confirming six new local cases.
There are now 23 active cases in Victoria, with 15 of those linked to the current outbreak.
Six new cases were confirmed on Wednesday morning, with one of those – announced soon after an initial five new cases were revealed – to be included in tomorrow's tally.
It means a total of 10 new local infections were discovered on Tuesday.
More than 25,000 test results were received during the reporting period.
Lockdown fears grow as new cases emerge
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Acting Premier James Merlino revealed he was "very concerned" about the spike in cases, prompting further fears Melbourne could be sent into a snap lockdown.
A raft of new restrictions were introduced across Greater Melbourne on Tuesday, but Merlino warned the government hasn't ruled out taking further action.
"I want to be upfront with everyone this morning – I cannot rule out taking some further action, but we'll we will update people as soon as we know," he said.
"It's good that everyone is linked at the stage, but we are concerned about the number, and also about the kind of exposure sites, and the next 24 hours are going to be pretty critical if we're going to make any further changes beyond the changes that we announced yesterday."
It is possible tougher restrictions could even be brought in by the end of the day, Melbourne University epidemiologist Professor Tony Blakey told 3AW.
He told the program the situation has, in a short period of time, "really escalated to become quite concerning" and things were now "really serious".
"I'm expecting that we will see significant increases in restrictions announced soon. We do unfortunately have a problem on our hands," he told the radio program.
Professor Blakey said if a lockdown does occur, it likely won't be as short as some of the other lockdowns other parts of the country have experienced in recent months.
"If we go into lockdown, I don't think this will be circuit breaker. It would be for at least five days and reassess the numbers as they come through. It wouldn't just be a three-day one, I suspect," he said.
The current restrictions, which were introduced at 6pm yesterday, include:
• A limit of five visitors per day for private households
• A limit of 30 people for public gatherings
• Masks required indoors for everyone aged 12 and over — even in workplaces — unless an exemption applies.
So far 301 primary close contacts of confirmed coronavirus cases have been identified, with 80 of those returning negative test results.
A man in his 60s, who was among the five cases announced yesterday, is believed to be the earliest known infection in the new outbreak.
The man, referred to as case 5, developed symptoms on May 17, with authorities believing he may have been infectious for almost 10 days before presenting for testing.
Later in the day it was announced four family contacts of the man also tested positive. He is also believed to have transmitted the virus to the first person discovered in the cluster, a man in his 30s.
That man then passed the virus on to three close family contacts spread across two households in Whittlesea, including a man in his 70s, a woman in her 70s and a preschool-aged child.
Everyone in the new cluster has been confirmed as having the Indian variant of the virus.
Chief health officer Professor Brett Sutton said authorities have discovered "multiple generations of transmission" over the last two days.
He said the next 24 hours will tell authorities whether anymore primary contacts are out in the community, with the rest of the 300 test results to come through today.
"The exposure sites that they then generate, how many close contacts they might have and how long they have been in the community — they are all factors we need to consider," he said.
Genomic testing has found the new infections are "closely linked" to a case from a few weeks ago that originated in South Australia.
Earlier in the month a man tested positive to the virus after becoming infected while undergoing hotel quarantine in South Australia and then flying into Melbourne and returning to his home in Wollert.
Health authorities believe there could be a "missing link" between this case and the new cluster, though so far none of the new cases have been found to be linked to any exposure sites from the Wollert case.
Professor Sutton confirmed on Wednesday that authorities are still trying to determine how this new cluster is linked to the Wollert case.
"All of the cases in this cluster are linked so we understand the relationships between them and we have an explanation for how transmission has occurred," he said.
"We might see new people coming forward and testing positive that either tell us what the missing link is with the Wollert case."
At the moment authorities are trying to understand how case 5 contracted the virus, with Professor Sutton adding unknown acquisition of Covid-19 is "always a concern".
Professor Sutton said yesterday that the cluster shows there was "clearly someone who was not identified" through recent contact tracing interviews, possibly because they were a casual contact.
"That is why I flagged public transport is a risk if you are on a packed carriage you do not know who you stand next to and you may be next to an infectious person," he said.
"I ask everyone to go back to those exposure sites on the website and, indeed, if they are going out for any gatherings, within limits from today and with 6pm restrictions in mind, go back to those exposure sites. If you have been to one of them, you should not go anywhere you should be tested."