A raft of new restrictions will be introduced across Greater Melbourne as the city’s new COVID-19 cluster continues to grow.
A raft of new restrictions will be introduced across Melbourne tonight as Victoria’s new COVID-19 cluster continues to grow.
Another new case of COVID-19 was detected in Melbourne overnight, bringing the total number of infections in the cluster to five.
The new case is a man in his 60s and was been identified as a close contact of one of the previous cases.
It comes after Victorian officials announced on Monday that four people in Whittlesea had tested positive to coronavirus, including a man in his 30s, a man in his 70s, a woman in her 70s and a preschool-aged child.
The group has been confirmed as having the Indian variant of the virus.
As a result a raft of new restrictions will be introduced across Melbourne from 6pm tonight, including:
• Limiting private household gatherings to five people per day
• Limiting public gatherings to 30 people
• Masks will be required indoors for everyone aged 12 and over unless an exemption applies
A raft of new restrictions are being brought in across Melbourne as the city’s new COVID-19 cluster continues to grow. Picture: William West/AFPSource:AFP
Victoria’s Acting Premier James Merlino said Victorians who live in Greater Melbourne will still be able to travel to regional parts of the state but must continue to follow the restrictions wherever they visit.
“For example, if you visit someone outside metropolitan Melbourne, they must have not more than five visitors at that house in that day,” he said.
“Victorians visiting regional Victoria from Melbourne will also need to wear a face mask when indoors, even when outside metropolitan Melbourne, unless an exemption applies.”
Mr Merlino said the restrictions are being brought in based on public health advice and will allow contact tracers time to “get on top” of the outbreak.
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.
Victoria was due to further ease restrictions around density limits for venues on May 28 but those will be paused in light of the new cluster.
‘Chains of transmission’ emerging
Chief health officer Professor Brett Sutton said there are “chains of transmission” playing out with these five new COVID-19 cases.
However, he warned 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 pact carried 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.”
Professor Sutton said the fifth case in the cluster “might be the missing link”authorities have been looking for as the interview process is still ongoing.
“His initial recollections do not overlap with any of the wallet exposure sites, so there is no definitive link to that wallet sites even though we know there is a genomic link,” he said.
It follows the revelation that one of the cases announced yesterday was “likely quite infectious”.
Professor Brett Sutton warned Melbourne residents on Monday “we have to ready ourselves” in case more positive cases are detected within the community.
“The viral load was high and with close contacts becoming positive, he is likely to be quite infectious,” Professor Sutton said.
“There (was) not a huge number of close contacts but we have to go through the interview process to identify anyone else.
“We have to ready ourselves for any other positives and when there are close contacts who do become positive, that raises the possibility that even a casual contact could become positive as well.”
List of COVID-19 exposure sites grow
Multiple locations have been added to the list of sites visited by confirmed COVID-19 cases during their infectious periods.
The following locations are considered Tier 1 exposure sites, meaning anyone who visited the venue at the time listed must immediately get tested and quarantine for 14 days from the date of exposure.
• Jump! Swim School, Bundoora on May 21 from 8.55am-10.15am.
• Nando’s, Epping on May 19 from 8.30pm-9.20pm
• Woolworths, Epping North on May 22 from 4.45pm-5.45pm
• Highpoint Shopping Centre, Maribyrnong on May 20 from 5pm-8pm
The following locations are considered Tier 2 exposure sites, meaning anyone who visited the site at the time listed should urgently get tested for COVID-19 and isolate until they receive a negative result.
• Futsal Brunswick, Brunswick on May 23 from 9am-10am
• Epping North Shopping Centre, Epping on May 22 from 4.45pm-5.50pm
• House and Party, Epping on May 22 from 5.15pm-5.50pm
• Urban Diner Food Court, Pacific Epping Shopping Centre, Epping on May 23 from 1.15pm-2.30pm
• Shell Coles Express, Reservoir on May 18 from 3.15pm-4.15pm
• B.T. Connor Reserve, Reservoir on May 21 from 8pm-11.30pm