Victoria to enter stage 3 lockdown as Covid cluster grows to 26

Victoria will enter stage 3 lockdown that will last for seven days with schools closed and only five reasons to leave home – as a Covid cluster containing the highly infectious Indian strain grows to 26 with 11 new cases overnight.

Health officials and senior government ministers held crisis meetings on Wednesday night and announced a seven-day lockdown on Thursday, beginning at midnight. 

The number of cases linked to the Whittlesea cluster ballooned to 26, from 15 on Wednesday.

From midnight tonight, people will only be able to leave home to shop for food and essential items, provide or receive care, exercise and to work or study if they can’t from home, and getting vaccinated. 

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said in excess of 10,000 primary and secondary contacts have been identified, and warned ‘any one of them’ could become cases over the next 14 days from their exposure. 

‘We haven’t seen [a number that large] previously. There’s been opportunities to spread to people. It speaks to the infectiousness of this B161 variant,’ Prof Sutton said.

Acting Victorian Premier James Merlino said the contacts will need to either quarantine, or test and isolate, and warned the ‘number will continue to grow and change’.

From midnight tonight, people will only be able to leave home to shop for food and essential items, provide or receive care, exercise and to work or study if they can't from home, and getting vaccinated

From midnight tonight, people will only be able to leave home to shop for food and essential items, provide or receive care, exercise and to work or study if they can't from home, and getting vaccinated

From midnight tonight, people will only be able to leave home to shop for food and essential items, provide or receive care, exercise and to work or study if they can’t from home, and getting vaccinated 

The 5km travel limit will also be reimposed for exercise and shopping, as will compulsory use of masks both indoors and outdoors

The 5km travel limit will also be reimposed for exercise and shopping, as will compulsory use of masks both indoors and outdoors

The 5km travel limit will also be reimposed for exercise and shopping, as will compulsory use of masks both indoors and outdoors 

NEW RESTRICTIONS FOR VICTORIAN STAGE 3 LOCKDOWN

Only five reasons to leave home:

– Shopping for necessary goods and services

– Going to work or permitted education

– Exercise with a two-hour limit

– Medical reasons and care giving 

– Getting vaccinated

 

No visitors to your home other than an intimate partner. Single bubbles will be permitted. If you live alone, you can make a bubble with another person.

· No public gatherings.

· Restaurants, pubs, and cafes can provide takeaway only.

· Essential retail, so supermarkets, food stores, petrol stations, banks, bottle shops and pharmacies, other retail stores can provide click and collect.

· Childcare and kinders will be open as per the last circuit breaker lockdown earlier this year.

· Approved professional sporting events will proceed but proceed without crowds.

· Schools will move to remote learning, except for vulnerable children, and children of authorised workers.

· Higher education will move to remote learning only.

· Community support and recreation, accommodation, but there will be some exemptions that apply.

· Hotels, clubs, TABs and the casino will be closed,

· Indoor and outdoor entertainment venues, swimming pools, spas, saunas, indoor and outdoor springs, community venues, drive in cinemas, amusements parks and arcades, creative studios, art galleries and museums, tourism, tours, and transport, and auctions can only happen online.

· Aged care facilities, no visitors except for limited reasons.

· In our hospitals, visitors only for end of life, to support a partner during birth, or a parent accompanying a child.

· In terms of ceremonies, funerals, a maximum of 10 people plus those running the service.

· Weddings cannot proceed unless end of life or deportation reasons apply.

· Religious activities will not proceed other than through broadcast with a maximum of five people.  

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The 5km travel limit will also be reimposed for exercise and shopping, as will compulsory use of masks both indoors and outdoors.

All non-essential retail will close but essential stores like supermarkets, bottle shops and pharmacies will stay open. Cafes and restaurants will only be able to offer take-away.

Childcare and kinder will stay open, but schools will close.

There are now 79 exposure sites across Melbourne and regional Victoria, including the MCG and Marvel Stadium.

A Covid-infected case last Saturday headed out for a big night in Prahran, in Melbourne's southeast. They attended three different bars and stayed out until Sunday 4am

A Covid-infected case last Saturday headed out for a big night in Prahran, in Melbourne's southeast. They attended three different bars and stayed out until Sunday 4am

A Covid-infected case last Saturday headed out for a big night in Prahran, in Melbourne’s southeast. They attended three different bars and stayed out until Sunday 4am

Melbourne’s CBD was almost deserted on Thursday morning, with a usually bustling Federation Square eerily quiet. 

‘It’s usually a lot more busy with people going to work or Melbourne Central but it’s pretty quiet today,’ Swanston St cafe worker, Iman Afefy, told The Herald Sun.

As of Thursday morning, there were 80 exposure sites listed on the Health Department’s website, spread across more than 30 Melbourne suburbs and Bendigo, Cohuna and Red Hill in regional Victoria.

Gladys Berejiklian said NSW authorities are monitoring Victoria’s outbreak ‘very closely’ amid fears it could have crossed the border after an infected person attended footy and netball games involving a New South Wales team.    

‘I’m worried about the evolving situation and of course we’ll watch closely to see what the Victorian government announces this morning,’ the NSW Premier said on Thursday. 

Virgin cancels flights to Melbourne 

Virgin Australia has cancelled more than 10 services in and out of Melbourne, where a coronavirus cluster continues to grow.

‘Due to the evolving situation in Greater Melbourne, Virgin Australia will cancel more than 10 services’ set down for Thursday, the carrier said in a statement.

‘While most services in and out of Melbourne today are operating as normal, we are adjusting our forward schedule to better reflect changing travel demand and booking trends.’ 

Virgin is receiving many many calls and is asking customers who aren’t travelling in the next 72 hours to call back later.

The airline will directly contact any customers impacted by changes to flights, including Melbourne services.

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‘We don’t have any intention of closing the borders at this stage, but of course we are very, very concerned with what’s going on.’

The NSW Government has advised people against travelling to Melbourne and Bendigo and Ms Berejiklian also asked people in Victoria not to rush to NSW.

‘Can I please urge anybody who is intending to get in their car and try and beat the lockdown, please think about your fellow citizens, please be safe, please know your actions can really harm so many others.’ 

Contact tracers are continuing to hunt a ‘missing link’ in the infection chain, with the virus genomically linked to a man who caught it in Adelaide during hotel quarantine. 

There is huge concern about further spread of the virus after an infected person partied at three different bars in Prahran, in the city’s southeast, on Saturday night – and ended up kicking on until 4am on Sunday in one of the venues known for packed crowds and a pumping dancefloor.

The pub-crawler, unknowingly infected with the highly contagious B.1.617 double mutant Indian strain of the virus, began the evening at a cocktail bar on Chapel Street called Three Monkeys.

They arrived at about 9.15pm and then went down the street to the famed Somewhere Bar – an establishment frequented by young, hip partygoers.

That Saturday the venue was packed as DJs blasted out tunes late into the night.

Three Monkeys also had a good turnout, raising fears the infected drinker may have sparked a super-spreader event.

‘It wasn’t crazy but it was solid,’ owner Antony Harvey told The Age of the crowd.

The infected person stayed at Somewhere Bar before heading back to Three Monkeys at about 1am.

They then then headed to Circus Bar – known for its raucous dance floor – on Commercial Road and kept the party going until 4am.  

The MCG and Marvel Stadium are also amongst concerning exposure sites.

An infected person attended the Collingwood-Port Adelaide AFL game at the MCG on Sunday, while one was also at the North Melbourne-Essendon clash at Marvel Stadium later that same day.

A decision on crowd limits for this weekend’s AFL matches in Melbourne has been delayed and the RISING festival has been cleared to go ahead, for now.

A number of restrictions were introduced for Greater Melbourne on Tuesday evening, including gathering limits of five people at homes and 30 in public and mandatory masks indoors. 

Contact tracers are continuing to hunt a 'missing link' in the infection chain, with the virus genomically linked to a man who caught it in Adelaide hotel quarantine

Contact tracers are continuing to hunt a 'missing link' in the infection chain, with the virus genomically linked to a man who caught it in Adelaide hotel quarantine

Contact tracers are continuing to hunt a ‘missing link’ in the infection chain, with the virus genomically linked to a man who caught it in Adelaide hotel quarantine

The infected person stayed at Somewhere Bar until about 1am (pictured)

The infected person stayed at Somewhere Bar until about 1am (pictured)

The infected person stayed at Somewhere Bar until about 1am (pictured)

The infected pub-crawler kept the party going until about 4am at the Circus Bar (pictured)

The infected pub-crawler kept the party going until about 4am at the Circus Bar (pictured)

The infected pub-crawler kept the party going until about 4am at the Circus Bar (pictured)

It comes as  NSW Health said it is urgently contacting people who attended a Central Murray Football and Netball League game between the Victorian club Cohuna and the New South Wales-based team Tooleybuc-Manangatang on Saturday afternoon.

Anyone who attended the footy and netball games, which were held in Victoria but with many fans who travelled from NSW, should immediately get tested and self-isolate.   

The infected person also visited the canteen and used the public toilets at the venue.

Health authorities are urging anyone who was at the event between 12pm and 5pm to get tested urgently and isolate until they receive a negative result.   

Acting Victorian Premier James Merlino (pictured) is expected to announce a lockdown that could be statewide and last up to 10 days

Acting Victorian Premier James Merlino (pictured) is expected to announce a lockdown that could be statewide and last up to 10 days

Acting Victorian Premier James Merlino (pictured) is expected to announce a lockdown that could be statewide and last up to 10 days

Genomic sequencing shows the City of Whittlesea outbreak is linked to the case of a Wollert man, who contracted the virus in quarantine in South Australia earlier this month.

A report released on Wednesday in SA found it likely he caught the virus through aerosol transmission due to the ‘timing of doors opening and closing’ at an adjacent room occupied by an infected guest.

South Australia on Wednesday became the first state to close its border to residents of Greater Melbourne. NSW and Queensland are urging residents to reconsider travel to the city and parts of regional Victoria.   

Victoria’s last lockdown was for five days in February, after the virus escaped hotel quarantine and infected 13 people.

Patient zero for the latest Victorian outbreak, who came to be known as the Wollert man, returned to South Australia from India on April 19, where he underwent 14 days in hotel quarantine at the Playford Hotel in Adelaide.   

The man in his 30s tested negative to the virus three times during his stay and was discharged on May 4 before he travelled to his home in Wollert, in Melbourne’s north.

But a few days later he developed symptoms and genomic testing would later reveal he contracted the virus from another hotel quarantine guest who was staying in an adjacent room.  

Pictured: The Cohuna recreation reserve in Victoria where a sporting event was held between a Victorian and NSW team - and attended by a positive Covid-19 case

Pictured: The Cohuna recreation reserve in Victoria where a sporting event was held between a Victorian and NSW team - and attended by a positive Covid-19 case

Pictured: The Cohuna recreation reserve in Victoria where a sporting event was held between a Victorian and NSW team – and attended by a positive Covid-19 case

His infection has since been gnomically linked to the new shock cluster gripping Melbourne. 

But a definitive link between the Wollert man and the outbreak hasn’t been established as contact tracers scramble to find a potential ‘missing link’. 

‘The only missing link is the link to the Wollert case from the South Australian hotel quarantine,’ Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said.

While authorities have ‘run down multiple generations of transmission’, Professor Sutton is concerned about the amount of time that positive cases have been out in the community. 

‘There are potential exposures there that relate to some days ago that are yet to play out in new cases,’ he said.

The South Australian hotel quarantine breach which has sparked a worrying Covid-19 outbreak in Melbourne is likely to have begun when the virus went from one open door to another (pictured, Melbourne health workers at a testing centre on Wednesday)

The South Australian hotel quarantine breach which has sparked a worrying Covid-19 outbreak in Melbourne is likely to have begun when the virus went from one open door to another (pictured, Melbourne health workers at a testing centre on Wednesday)

The South Australian hotel quarantine breach which has sparked a worrying Covid-19 outbreak in Melbourne is likely to have begun when the virus went from one open door to another (pictured, Melbourne health workers at a testing centre on Wednesday)

Full list of Covid exposure sites  

The advice for Tier 1 sites is to get tested immediately and quarantine for 14 days from exposure.

Tuesday, May 25

NEW: Stratton Finance HQ, 1/435 Williamstown Road, Port Melbourne, all day on May 24

Monday, May 24

NEW: Dukes Gym Abbotsford in Abbotsford between 6:15pm and 8:15pm on May 24

NEW: Anytime Fitness, Shop TG-01, Uni Hill Town Centre, 1-3 Janefield Drive, Bundoora between 4:50 and 5:50pm on May 24

NEW: Ritchies IGA, Pentridge, 1 Champ Street Coburg between 6:45pm and 7:25pm

NEW: Stratton Finance HQ, 1/435 Williamstown Road, Port Melbourne, all day on May 24

NEW: Port Park Cafe at 7/484 Graham Street, Port Melbourne between 12:30pm and 1:00pm on May 24

Bay 101 Cafe at 7/101 Bay Street, Port Melbourne between 7:30am and 8:20am on May 24, 

Sunday, May 23

NEW: Anytime FitnessShop, Uni Hill Town Centre at 1-3 Janefield Drive in Bundoora between 3:40pm and 5:30pm

NEW: Axedale Tavern at 105 High Street in Axedale between 11:45am and 1:30pm on May 23

NEW: Endless Lifestyle Studio in Balwyn between 9:45am and 12:40pm on May 23

NEW: 7-Eleven Fairfield East, 324 Station Street, Fairfield between 7:45pm and 8:00pm on May 23

NEW: Stratton Finance HQ, 1/435 Williamstown Road, Port Melbourne, all day on May 23

NEW: Three Monkeys Bar at 210 Chapel Street, Prahran, between 12:30am and 2:00am Sunday, May 23

NEW: Criniti’s Southbank, 645 Freshwater Place, Southbank between 6:00pm and 9:30pm

NEW: Circus Bar at 199 Commercial Road, South Yarra, between 1:30am and 4:15am on Sunday, May 23

Saturday, May 22

NEW: Stratton Finance HQ, 1/435 Williamstown Road Port Melbourne, all day on May 22

NEW: Somewhere Bar at 181 Chapel Street, Prahran, between 10:30pm and 1:00am on Saturday, May 22

NEW: Three Monkeys Bar at 210 Chapel Street, Prahran, between 9:10pm and 11:00pm on Saturday, May 22

NEW: Secco and Co at 414 Nicholson Street, Fitzroy North between 7:35pm and 8:55pm on May 22

McDonald’s Clifton Hill between 6:00pm and 7:00pm on May 22

Woolworths Epping North between 4:45pm and 5:45pm on May 22

NEW: The Nicholson Coffee House in Nicholson Street in Coburg between 12:00pm and 1:00pm on May 22

NEW: Hairfolk on Williamson Street in Bendigo between 9.40am and 10.10am on May 22

NEW: BP Southvale on Bell Street in Coburg between 8.10am and 8.30am on May 22

NEW: Little Tienda at 410 Station Street, Thornbury between 7:45am and 8:20am on May 22

Friday, May 21

NEW: Stratton Finance HQ, 1/435 Williamstown Road Port Melbourne, all day on May 21

NEW: The Local on Bay Street in Port Melbourne between 1:30pm and 3:30pm on May 21

NEW: The Palace Hotel, 505-507 City Road, South Melbourne between 5:45 and 6:45pm

Bamboo House restaurant on Bourke Street in Melbourne CBD between 11:00am and 11:50am on May 21

Jump Swim School in Bundoora between 8:55am and 10:15am on May 21

Thursday, May 20

NEW: Stratton Finance HQ, 1/435 Williamstown Road Port Melbourne, all day on May 20

NEW: Coles at Pacific Epping Shopping Centre between 6:46pm and 7:35pm on May 20

NEW: Woolworths at Pacific Epping Shopping Centre between 6:25pm and 7:15pm on May 20

Highpoint Shopping Centre between 5:00pm and 8:00pm on May 20

Lush Cosmetics at Highpoint Shopping Centre in Maribrynong between 6:05pm and 6:35pm on May 20

Smiggle at Highpoint Shopping Centre in Maribrynong between 5:55pm and 6:30pm on May 20

Ishka at Highpoint Shopping Centre in Maribrynong between 5:45pm and 6:20pm on May 20

Toyworld at Highpoint Shopping Centre in Maribrynong between 5:30pm and 6:20pm on May 20

Kidstuff at Highpoint Shopping Centre in Maribrynong between 5:20pm and 5:55pm on May 20

Wednesday, May 19

Nando’s at Dalton Road in Epping between 8:30pm and 9:20pm on May 19

Tuesday, May 18

NEW: Doctors on Broadway, 210A Broadway, Reservoir between 2:00pm and 3:45pm on May 18

The Furniture Trader in Epping between 12:00pm and 12:50pm on May 18

Monday, May 17

JMD Grocers & Sweets in Epping between 10:30am and 1:00pm on May 17   

TIER 

Tier 2 COVID exposure sites: The advice for Tier 2 sites the advice is to get tested urgently and isolate until you have a negative result.

Monday, May 24

NEW: Ritchies IGA Pentridge at 1 Champ Street in Coburg between 6:45pm and 7:25pm

Sunday, May 23

ALDI at Dalton Village in Epping, between 6:00pm and 7:30pm on May 23

ALDI Preston South on Dundas Street, Preston, between 3:45pm and 4:25pm on May 23

NEW: Docklands Stadium, Docklands, Level 1 between aisles five and 28; Level 3 between aisles six and 29 during the Essendon/North Melbourne AFL game

NEW: MCG, Zone 4, Level 1 between 2:50pm and 6:30pm on May 23

NEW: 7-Eleven at 324 Station Street in Fairfield between 7:45pm and 8:00pm

Adams Reserve Playground at Preston, between 2:15pm and 3:45pm on May 23

Urban Diner Food Court, Pacific Epping Shopping Centre, at 571-583 High Street in Epping between 1:15pm and 2:30pm on May 23

Chemist Depot Epping at Pacific Epping Shopping Centre between 11:15am and 12:00pm on May 23

Futsal Brunswick at 409 Victoria Street in Brunswick between 9:00am and 10:00am on May 23

Saturday, May 22

NEW: Barkly Square, Brunswick; Priceline, Kmart, Woolworths between 1:15pm and 2:30pm on May 22

NEW: Cohuna Football and Netball Club, Cohuna Recreation Reserve, Island Road, Cohuna between 12:00pm and 5:00pm on May 22

P & C Indian Grocery & Convenience Store at Broadway Reservoir between 6:00pm and 7:00pm on May 22

House and Party Store on Lyndarum Drive in Epping between 5:15pm and 5:50pm on May 22

Epping North Shopping Centre on Lyndarum Drive in Epping between 4:45pm and 5:50pm on May 22

Friday, May 21

BT Connor Reserve at 200 Broadhurst Avenue in Reservoir between 8:00pm and 11:30pm on May 21

NEW: RMIT Campus, Building 56 in Carlton between 8:00am and 10:30am on May 21

Thursday, May 20

Deep Indian Supermarket at 3/494 High Street, Lalor between 7pm and 8pm on May 20

Highpoint Shopping Centre, all other areas on Levels 2 and 3 excluding specific shops listed as Tier 1 sites, between 5:15pm and 6:35pm

Bunnings Warehouse at 761 Plenty Road, Mill Park between 4pm and 6:30pm on May 20

White Line Automotive at 2/28 Lipton Drive, Thomastown between 12:00pm and 1:30pm on May 20

Wednesday, May 19

NEW: Chemist Warehouse at Dalton Village in Epping between 6:45pm and 8:00pm on May 19

Fruits of Lalor at 328 Station Street, Lalor between 12:00pm and 1:00pm on May 19

No.1 Fruit Market at 37 May Road, Lalor between 12:00pm and 1:00pm on May 19

Everfresh Fruit Market at 346 Station Street, Lalor between 12:00pm and 1:00pm on May 19

Tuesday, May 18

Shell Coles Express Reservoir at 192-202 Broadway and Whitelaw Streets in Reservoir between 3:15pm and 4:15pm on May 18

Monday, May 17

ACTROL at 13-17 Brand Drive, Thomastown between 12:00pm and 1:30pm on May 17

Tier 3 COVID exposure sites: The advice for Tier 3 sites is to monitor for symptoms and if symptoms develop, immediately get tested and isolate until you receive a negative test.

Sunday, May 23 

NEW: MCG, all of stadium other than zone 4 between 2:50pm and 6:30pm on May 23 

 

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