Published: Wed, May 26, 2021

Restrictions back as new COVID outbreak hits Melbourne

Restrictions back as new COVID outbreak hits Melbourne

Australia's second most populous state of Victoria reported on Monday four new COVID-19 infections, all in the city of Melbourne, the first cases of community transmission in the state in almost three months.

The four cases, including a pre-school child, came from one extended family in two households in a northern suburb of Melbourne.

Asked on ABC Radio Melbourne by Raf Epstein if he was concerned about the increase in new infections, Victoria's chief health officer Brett Sutton said there's no point worrying yet.

Queensland will declare the City of Whittlesea in Melbourne's north as a COVID hotspot with residents from there to be barred from entering the Sunshine State.

On Tuesday, Merlino said one more person, a man in his 60s, had tested positive for Covid-19 overnight.

The latest outbreak snapped Victoria's 86-day streak without a locally acquired COVID-19 case.

If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 - such as fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, chills or sweats, or change in sense of smell or taste - get a test immediately.

"Sometimes you can be absolutely lucky with a single case who's not particularly infectious".

Genomic sequencing has confirmed the strain of the virus detected in the four cases announced yesterday matches the strain of a case in Wollert earlier this month, who contracted the virus in hotel quarantine in South Australia.

He added people had to be "alive to the possibility" that the number of cases could grow.

The total number of active cases in New Zealand today is 22, and the total number of confirmed cases is 2313.

"An epidemiological link has yet to be determined between these cases and there is now no known link between people in the current outbreak and any of the exposure sites from Wollert".

Victorian health authorities have revealed further exposure sites as part of Melbourne's growing COVID cluster, including a major shopping centre and a McDonald's.

It is not now listed as a public exposure site as the Department has access to records of everyone who attended the hospital.

Those who visited floors two and three of the centre during specified times are also urged to get tested and isolate until they return a negative result.

In a statement, ACT Health said Greater Melbourne would also be declared a geographical area of risk and, as a result, staff, visitors and volunteers in high-risk settings such as hospitals and aged care facilities should not visit or attend work for 14 days.

Authorities in other states have responded quickly to the Melbourne outbreak.

People who live in metropolitan Melbourne can still travel to regional Victoria - however the rules will accompany them when they leave the city, meaning they will still need to wear a mask indoors and the person they visit will only be allowed five visitors to their house that day.

Mr Merlino said the new restrictions were based on public health advice.

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