Coronavirus Australia: Victoria’s Covid cluster climbs with 6,000 Melburnians plunged into isolation

Two fans were infected at an AFL match at the MCG as Melbourne’s latest coronavirus outbreak climbs to 16 cases.

Victoria had recorded no further local cases of Covid earlier on Thursday on top of the 10 reported a day earlier to narrowly avoid being plunged into a fifth lockdown.

Health officials have since confirmed two more cases linked to an AFL match between Geelong and Carlton at the MCG last Saturday, included a nine-year-old boy.

The outbreak has grown to 16 cases associated with two chains of transmission.

More than 1500 primary close contacts have been plunged into 14 days of isolation along with another 5,000 secondary close contacts.

More than 300 staff and 3,000 students at Bacchus Marsh Grammar are among those in isolation.

‘The next 24-48 hours that is a critical period to see whether this is a wave that’s standing up on us, or whether we’re cresting over the top,’ Victoria’s Covid-19 commander Jeroen Weimar said.

‘We’ll have a better picture soon.’

Masks are once again compulsory indoors throughout Victoria as officials try to stem two outbreaks of the highly infectious Indian Delta variant transported into the state by two Sydney removalists and a returning family.   

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and senior ministers met on Wednesday night and Thursday morning to discuss the possibility of a snap lockdown, but held off. 

Victoria officially recorded 10 locally-acquired cases on Thursday, which were all cases announced on Wednesday. 

This includes three teachers at two separate schools, one who caught the virus from an infected friend at an AFL game at the MCG on Saturday.

Th MCG is among 75 exposure sites flagged by Victorian health officials.

A group of removalists, two infected with coronavirus, have sparked an outbreak in Victoria that leaves the state teetering on the edge of lockdown after visiting several venues and even travelling to South Australia

Eleven new infections were found in Melbourne's north and west on Wednesday from two separate outbreaks, both of which stem from NSW (pictured, a Melbourne local)

Eleven new infections were found in Melbourne’s north and west on Wednesday from two separate outbreaks, both of which stem from NSW (pictured, a Melbourne local)

From 11.59pm on Wednesday, anyone aged over 12 in Victoria is required to wear a mask in all indoor settings, including secondary schools and workplaces, unless an exception applies.  

Hospitality venues could also be affected with numbers slashed and the no standing while eating or drinking rule reinstated at bars, restaurants, clubs and functions.

This will mean dancing and singing in licensed venues could also be banned, but no firm decisions had been announced as of Thursday night. 

A teacher from Bacchus Marsh primary school is among the cases, having reportedly attended an AFL match between Carlton and Geelong at the MCG on Saturday, as well as the Young & Jackson hotel, with an infected friend who lives at the now locked-down Ariele Apartments in Maribyrnong.

So far, 2,000 footy fans who were at the clash on Saturday have been told to get tested and isolate. 

DFU Uni Hill shopping centre (pictured) in Bundoora was revealed as an exposure site late on Wednesday night, after an infected case shopped at Nike, Adidas, Asics, Puma, Cotton On and Connor

DFU Uni Hill shopping centre (pictured) in Bundoora was revealed as an exposure site late on Wednesday night, after an infected case shopped at Nike, Adidas, Asics, Puma, Cotton On and Connor

What are the new Covid restrictions to hit Victoria?  

CONFIRMED 

FACE MASKS 

– From 11.59pm on Wednesday, anyone aged over 12 in Victoria will be required to wear a mask in all indoor settings, including schools and workplaces, unless an exception applies

UNDER CONSIDERATION

VISITORS TO THE HOME SLASHED

– There is currently a cap of 15 people allowed to attend home gatherings, but it is expected that figure will be greatly reduced in an announcement on Thursday

HOSPITALITY NUMBERS CUT

– Hospitality venues could also be affected with numbers slashed and the no standing rule while eating or drinking to be reinstated at bars, restaurants, clubs and functions

– This will mean dancing and singing in licensed venues could also be banned 

PROTOCOLS FOR COMMERCIAL AND FREIGHT OPERATIONS TIGHTENED 

– It is not yet clear what restriction will be brought in for interstate freight workers, but stricter check-ins, face masks and other protocols could be part of the announcement 

The man, aged in his 60s, is one of four residents of the apartment complex to test positive on Wednesday.

He also infected his parents, aged 89 and 90, who live in Craigieburn, and visited multiple stores at Highpoint Shopping Centre on Friday.

Bacchus Marsh Grammar has confirmed the infected teacher, a friend of the Ariele Apartments case, attended a staff day on Monday but had no contact with students on Tuesday or Wednesday.

He is understood to have infected two household contacts, one of whom is also a teacher at the same school. 

Staff have been told to self-isolate and get tested, while the school’s Woodlea and Maddingley campuses will be closed for the rest of the week.

Barwon Heads Primary School near Geelong has also been closed until further notice after a case of coronavirus was reported.

Another new case is a man in his 30s who attended Coles Craigieburn at the same time as a member of a family who recently returned from Sydney infected with Covid-19.

Millions of residents in Melbourne are bracing a new wave of Covid restrictions after two infected Sydney removalists transmitted the virus during a trip to Victoria last week (pictured, a woman in Melbourne)

Millions of residents in Melbourne are bracing a new wave of Covid restrictions after two infected Sydney removalists transmitted the virus during a trip to Victoria last week (pictured, a woman in Melbourne)

The Ariele Apartments in Maribyrnong, Melbourne (pictured) is at the centre of a Covid outbreak after the infected Sydney removalists spent several hours there - spreading the virus to at least four people in two households

The Ariele Apartments in Maribyrnong, Melbourne (pictured) is at the centre of a Covid outbreak after the infected Sydney removalists spent several hours there – spreading the virus to at least four people in two households 

The family of four from Melbourne’s northwest were required to self-isolate at home as red zone permit arrivals, but one visited the Coles and a Metro petrol station in Broadmeadows.

All have now tested positive, with the fourth infection – the second of their children – confirmed on Wednesday.

The Ariele Apartments outbreak is linked to a NSW removalist crew who did a pick up at the complex on Thursday while infectious, forcing some 200 residents into 14 days of lockdown.

The crew had the necessary travel permits to enter Victoria, but their movements are now under the microscope.

Covid-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar said the three removalists, two of whom have tested positive, weren’t wearing masks.

Young & Jackson Hotel in Melbourne's CBD (pictured) has been flagged as an exposure site after a coronavirus-infected man from the Ariele Apartments dined there with a friend before a match at the MCG. That friend, a teacher, now also has the virus

Young & Jackson Hotel in Melbourne’s CBD (pictured) has been flagged as an exposure site after a coronavirus-infected man from the Ariele Apartments dined there with a friend before a match at the MCG. That friend, a teacher, now also has the virus

Vic Health personnel wearing PPE enter Ariele Apartments in Maribyrnong (pictured) where infected Sydney removalists spread coronavirus to at least four residents

Vic Health personnel wearing PPE enter Ariele Apartments in Maribyrnong (pictured) where infected Sydney removalists spread coronavirus to at least four residents

The trio also did a drop off at a Craigieburn home the same day, and are believed to have slept in their trucks on Thursday night before travelling to SA.

Mr Weimar said the next two days would be critical to stamp out the outbreaks.

‘We are right on the heels of this particular outbreak,’ he told reporters on Wednesday.

Two of the removalists have tested positive back in Sydney and the other remains in isolation. 

HOW MELBOURNE’S TWO NEW COVID CLUSTERS BEGAN

City of Hume, Craigieburn, cluster

  • A family of four returning from New South Wales have all tested positive – a 40-year-old couple and their two children
  • A 30-year-old man caught the virus from the family at Coles in Craigieburn Central

Maribyrnong cluster

  • Two Covid infected removalists spent four hours in the Ariele apartment complex
  • Three people living in one apartment have since tested positive.
  • Another 60-year-old man living in the building also caught Covid and has since passed the virus onto his parents, an 89-year-old and a 90-year-old
  • The 60-year-old also spent time at the Young & Jackson hotel with a teacher from Bacchus Marsh primary school before going to the AFL match between Carlton and Geelong at the MCG on Saturday.
  • The teacher has since infected two household contacts, one of whom is another teacher from the Bacchus Marsh school. 

Another teacher at Barwon Heads Primary School has also tested positive, bringing the locally-acquired infections in Victoria to 11. 

Poll

Should these three removalists be punished if they broke Covid rules?

  • Yes 1265 votes
  • No 213 votes
  • Not sure 60 votes

Covid requirements such as mask wearing and social distancing were reportedly not followed, and four people in the apartment building they went to have since tested positive.

This could be because of exemptions based on doing vigorous physical work, such as moving furniture. 

The removalist crew set off from Covid-ravaged western Sydney on July 8 stopping at a Hungry Jacks and a Caltex service station in Kalkallo before dropping off a load of furniture to a home in Craigieburn on Melbourne’s northern outskirts.

They then travelled to Maribyrnong in Melbourne’s west to the third floor of the Ariele Apartments and picked up a set of furniture bound for Adelaide.  

A Covid case went to the MCG (pictured) to watch the Carlton Blues versus Geelong Cats clash where he passed on the virus to a school teacher who has since transmitted the Indian Delta strain to two others

A Covid case went to the MCG (pictured) to watch the Carlton Blues versus Geelong Cats clash where he passed on the virus to a school teacher who has since transmitted the Indian Delta strain to two others

The infected removalists stopped at the Mobil service station in Ballan (pictured) during their interstate trip

The infected removalists stopped at the Mobil service station in Ballan (pictured) during their interstate trip

Later that evening on July 8, the removalists left Melbourne and travelled to Ballan, near Ballarat where they visited a Mobil service station and a McDonald’s for food and one had a shower.

The following morning, on July 9, they headed to McLaren Vale in Adelaide, where one of the crew was informed by NSW Health that they were a primary close contact of another positive case back in Sydney.

All three crew members then headed back to Sydney on July 10, but stopped off at a Shell service station in South Australia’s Tailem Bend, and a Hungry Jack’s in Marulan, NSW.

It was later that day one of the crew returned a positive test. Then on July 11, a second crew member was also confirmed to be infected. 

The Hungry Jack's in Marulan in NSW (pictured) has been flagged as an exposure site after being visited by the men on their way back to Sydney

The Hungry Jack’s in Marulan in NSW (pictured) has been flagged as an exposure site after being visited by the men on their way back to Sydney

Barwon Heads Primary School near Geelong (pictured) has also been closed until further notice after a case of coronavirus was reported. It is not yet known which cluster this case is linked to

Barwon Heads Primary School near Geelong (pictured) has also been closed until further notice after a case of coronavirus was reported. It is not yet known which cluster this case is linked to

Mr Weimar said the information the trio gave to contact tracers was ‘not as crisp and clear and consistent’ as it should be, with two not believed to speak English.

‘I don’t have a complete accurate track in terms of exactly where they stayed,’ Mr Weimar said.

‘My understanding at this point in time is that they stayed in their cab as part of their protocols.

‘Any other locations they may have stopped at we’re still trying to track down definitively.’ 

 Mr Weimar said the next two days would be critical to stamp out the outbreaks.

Residents currently under quarantine at the Ariel Apartment complex are seen on their balcony on Wednesday after being put into a strict lockdown and banned from leaving their homes

Residents currently under quarantine at the Ariel Apartment complex are seen on their balcony on Wednesday after being put into a strict lockdown and banned from leaving their homes

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Tuesday announced a new, joint state- and federally-funded support package for NSW due to the Sydney outbreak that has infected more than 800 people and claimed two lives.

The package will also be offered to other jurisdictions if they have to impose extended lockdowns.

Premier Daniel Andrews’ office issued a statement on Tuesday night accusing the federal government of NSW favouritism, while federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said people were ‘sick’ of Mr Andrews’ ‘whingeing and his politicking of the crisis’.

MELBOURNE’S EXPOSURE SITES

 Tier 1 – Anyone who has visited the following locations during the listed times must get tested immediately and quarantine for 14 days from the exposure:  

Bundoora: Nike, DFO Uni Hill –  Friday 9 July , 4.15pm – 5pm 

Bundoora: New Balance, DFO Uni Hill -Friday 9 July, 4.30pm – 4.45pm

Bundoora:  Puma Australia DFO Uni Hill – Friday 9 July, 4.05pm – 4.50pm

Bundoora: Fila, DFO Uni Hill – Friday 9 July, 4.05pm – 4.50pm

Bundoora: ASICS, DFO Uni Hill – Friday 9 July, 4.40pm – 4.55pm

Bundoora: Under Armour, DFO Uni Hill – Friday 9 July, 4.25pm – 5.10pm

Bundoora: yd, DFO Uni Hill  – Friday 9 July, 4.25pm – 5.30pm

Bundoora:  Cotton On, DFO Uni Hill, Friday 9 July, 4.45pm – 5.30pm

Bundoora: Adidas, DFO Uni Hill, Friday 9 July, 4.50pm – 5.35pm 

Bundoora: Rivers, DFO Uni Hill, Friday 9 July, 4.55pm – 5.40pm

Bundoora: Connor Clothing, DFO Uni Hill  – Friday 9 July, 5pm – 6pm

Craigieburn: McDonalds Craigieburn – Sunday 11 July, 11.50pm – 12.30am 

Craigieburn: McDonalds Craigieburn – Tuesday 13 July, 1.35pm – 2.20pm 

Campbellfield: Bizzler Take-Away Food – Sunday 11 July, 2.30pm – 3.30pm 

Epping:  Southern Cross Medical Imaging – Monday 12 July, 9.45am – 10.35am

Maribyrnong: Bras N Things, Highpoint Shopping Centre – Friday 9 July, 11.15am – 11.30am

Maribyrnong: Ariele Apartments – Tuesday 13 July, 12am – 11.59pm

Maribyrnong: Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses – Friday 9 July, 10am – 10.40am

Maribyrnong: Aquatic Centre – Saturday 10 July, 10am – 11.30am

Maribyrnong: SkinKandy, Highpoint Shopping Centre – Friday 9 July, 11.15am – 12.35pm

Maribyrnong: The Reject Shop, Highpoint Shopping Centre – Friday 9 July, 11.30am – 12.10pm 

Melbourne: Young & Jackson – Saturday July 10, 2.40pm – 4.10pm 

Oakleigh: Vanilla Lounge – Friday 9 July, 2.45pm – 4.30pm 

Public Transport: Yarra Trams- Route 82 (Edgewater Square/Gordon St Maribyrnong, to Leeds St/Footscray Station, Footscray) – Saturday July 10, 2.09pm – 2.25pm  

Public Transport: Yarra Trams- Route 70 (Flinders St/Swanston St to MCG) – Saturday July 10, 3.46pm – 3.53pm  

Tier 2  – Anyone who has visited the following locations during the listed times should urgently get tested, then isolate until confirmation of a negative result. Continue to monitor for symptoms, get tested again if symptoms appear:  

Broadmeadows: Arrow Petroleum Service Station – Sunday 11 July, 10pm – 12.30pm 

Bundoora: DFO Uni Hill – Friday 9 July, 4.30pm – 6.30pm

Epping: Epping North Dental Clinic – Monday 12 July, 9.45am – 10.35am

Epping: ACL Collection Centre – Monday 12 July, 9.45am -10.35am 

Epping: O’Herns Road/Dalton Road Medical Centre – Monday 12 July, 9.45am – 10.35am

Highton: APCO Service Station – Sunday 11 July, 2.10pm – 2.45pm 

Maribyrnong: ALDI – Sunday 11 July, 4.10pm – 5pm 

Maribyrnong: Foodcourt, Highpoint Shopping Centre – Friday 9 July, 11.40am – 12.20pm

Maribyrnong:  North Carpark Level 1, Highpoint Shopping Centre – Friday 9 July 11.10am – 11.40am and 12.00pm – 12.30pm

Maribyrnong: ALDI – Friday July 9, 5.30pm – 6.10pm 

Public Transport: Metro Train: Footscray Station to Flinders Street Station – Saturday July 10, 2.27pm – 2.46pm 

Public Transport: Tram Stop 5 – Flinders Street – Saturday July 10, 3.43pm – 3.46pm 

Public Transport: Jolimont Railway Station – Saturday July 10, 7.05pm – 7.17pm

Public Transport: Metro Train (Jolimont Station to Flinders St Station) – Saturday July 10, 7.13pm – 7.20pm 

Richmond:  Level 2 of MCG Members’ Reserve, Carlton v Geelong game – Saturday July 10, 4pm – 8pm 

Waurn Ponds: Officeworks – Sunday 11 July, 1.30pm – 2.30pm 

Tier 3 – Anyone who has visited this location during these times should monitor for symptoms – If symptoms develop, immediately get tested and isolate until you receive a negative result: 

Footscray: Footscray Station – Saturday July 10, 2.25pm – 2.30pm

Public Transport: Flinders Street Railway Station – Saturday July 10, 2.45pm – 3pm 

Public Transport: Flinders Street Railway Station – Saturday July 10, 7.15pm – 7.40pm 

Richmond: MCG, Carlton v Geelong game (excluding Level 2 of MCG Members’ Reserve) – Saturday 10 July, 4pm – 8pm

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