A late night pub crawl by an unwitting Covid-infected case across Melbourne’s trendy Chapel Street threatens to plunge the entire city into yet another lockdown.
The infectious drinker headed out for a mammoth late-night bender in Prahran, in the city’s southeast, on Saturday night – which ended up kicking on until 4am on Sunday in a bar known for packed crowds and a pumping dancefloor.
With thousands of pub-goers potentially exposed to the virus at the packed venues, it now appears a five-day stay-at-home order is imminent after Victorian health officials were locked in emergency talks on Wednesday night.
Experts warned that if a single case appears that isn’t a household contact, as in someone infected at one of the bars or others venues, Victoria will ‘push the lockdown button’.
It comes as television personality Eddie McGuire claimed ‘government sources’ informed him Melbourne will go into a five-day lockdown starting Thursday.
Appearing on Channel Nine’s Footy Classified on Wednesday night, McGuire claimed there would be ‘no crowds’ at the weekend’s AFL games.
‘My information from government sources is tomorrow morning it may well be announced there will be a five-day lockdown in Victoria,’ he said.
Eddie McGuire claimed ‘government sources’ informed him Melbourne will go into a five-day lockdown starting Thursday
A Covid-infected case last Saturday headed out for a mammoth late-night bender in Prahran, in Melbourne’s southeast, which ended up kicking on until 4am on Sunday – visiting three bars
One of the Chapel Street pubs the infected reveller visited was the trendy cocktail lounge Three Monkeys (pictured)
‘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.’
There are also fears the outbreak, which has now climbed to 15 cases, has spread interstate after health authorities confirmed a virus carrier attended sporting fixtures involving a New South Wales team – who then travelled back to their home state.
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.
An announcement by Acting Victorian Premier James Merlino is expected to come at around 9am on Thursday, with Daniel Andrews still off work with a serious back injury.
Anyone who attended the above venues at the specified times is urged to self-isolate and get tested for Covid-19 after an infected case went on a late night pub crawl
The pub-crawler, unknowingly infected with a highly contagious 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 wandered down the street to the famed Somewhere Bar – an establishment frequented by a sea of 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 that night.
The infected case stayed at Somewhere Bar for a slue of drinks before heading back to Three Monkeys at about 1am.
The positive case then headed off towards Circus Bar – known for its raucous dance floor – on Commercial Road and kept the party going until 4am.
The number of Covid-19 cases in Melbourne’s north jumped to 15 after six new infections were confirmed on Wednesday.
A string of 37 venues were announced on Wednesday as having been linked to one of the Covid-positive people, plunging potentially thousands into self-isolation.
University of Melbourne epidemiologist Tony Blakely warned that it’s almost inevitable that a lockdown will be called, particularly if further cases emerge that can’t be linked to others in the northern suburbs cluster.
‘If even one case occurs among somebody who is not a known contact already, I think they will hit the lockdown button,’ he said.
The infected case stayed at Somewhere Bar for a slue of drinks before until about 1am (pictured)
The infected pub-crawler kept the party going until about 4am at the Circus Bar (pictured)
Current restrictions in Melbourne:
- Maximum of five visitors per household
- Maximum of 30 people gathering outside
- Masks must be worn indoors and on public transport
- People travelling from Melbourne to other areas must carry restrictions with them
- Schools and workplaces will remain open with the new restrictions applied
- Dancefloors remain open but people must wear masks while dancing
Patient zero for the latest Australian 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.
SA Health handed down the findings of a report on Wednesday that suggested the virus likely spread when doors of adjacent rooms were momentarily opened at the same time.
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.
Acting Victorian Premier James Merlino (pictured) says the next 24 hours will be critical to avoid another lockdown after the state recorded six more locally acquired Covid-19 cases
Healthcare workers are seen at work at a Covid-19 testing facility in Melbourne on Wednesday
The Victorian government has already introduced a number of restrictions to try and stop the spread including mask mandates indoors and limits on gatherings.
Other states around Australia have also taken steps to stop the virus from spreading, re-introducing tough border restrictions that require incoming travellers to self-isolate and Melburnians banned from South Australia all together.
It’s understood officials are considering a five day circuit breaker, which could be extended if significant numbers of cases not directly linked to the current cluster emerge, The Herald Sun reported.
Mr Merlino said ‘the next 24 hours are going to be critical’.
‘It’s good that everyone is linked at this stage but we are concerned about the number and also about the kind of exposure sites,’ Mr Merlino said on Wednesday.
‘But I cannot rule out taking some further action but we’ll update people as soon as we know.’
Contact tracers are continuing to hunt a ‘missing link’ in the infection chain, as policymakers and public health authorities held crisis talks on Wednesday night about whether a shut will be declared. Pictured: Masked pedestrians in Melbourne
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
The fears Melbourne’s Covid-19 outbreak could already have spread interstate come after health authorities confirmed a virus carrier attended sporting fixtures involving a New South Wales team.
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.
Victorian health authorities said the positive Covid-19 case attended the Cohuna Recreation Reserve and watching multiple netball games alongside other spectators.
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.
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)
It’s understood Victorian officials are considering a five day circuit breaker, which could be extended if significant numbers of cases not directly linked to the current cluster emerge (pictured, Melbourne commuters)
COVID-19 EXPOSURE VENUES ANNOUNCED ON WEDNESDAY
Tier 1: Get tested immediately and quarantine for 14 days from exposure
Dukes Gym Abbotsford – 24/05/2021 6:15pm – 8:15pm
Axedale Tavern – 23/05/2021 11:45am – 1:30pm
Endless Lifestyle Studio, Balwyn – 23/05/2021 9:45am – 12:40pm
McDonald’s Bayswater North – 21/05/2021 11:00pm – 12:00am
Anytime Fitness, Bundoora – 23/05/2021 3:40pm – 5:30pm and 24/05/2021 4:50pm – 5:50pm
Burwood Teppanyaki House – 22/05/2021 7:30pm – 9:40pm
Bicycle Superstore, Carnegie – 23/05/2021 3:33pm – 4:00pm
The Nicholson Coffee House, Coburg – 22/05/2021 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Coles Epping – 20/05/2021 6:45pm – 7:35pm
Woolworths Epping – 20/05/2021 6:25pm – 7:15pm
Secco and Co, Fitzroy North – 22/05/2021 7:35pm – 8:55pm
Degani, Westfield Plenty Valley – 23/05/2021 11:30am – 2:00pm
The Sporting Globe Mordialloc – 23/05/2021 6:17pm – 9:43pm
Melbourne Swordcraft – 21/05/2021 5:45pm – 10:30pm
Bay 101 Cafe, Port Melbourne – 24/05/2021 7:30am – 8:20am
Port Park Cafe, Port Melbourne – 24/05/2021 12:30pm – 1:00pm
The Local, Port Melbourne – 21/05/2021 1:30pm – 3:30pm
Stratton Finance HQ – 20/05/2021 – 25/05/2021 12:00am – 11:59pm
Somewhere Bar – 22/05/2021 10:30pm – 1:00am
Three Monkeys – 22/05/2021 9:10pm – 11:00pm and 23/05/2021 12.30am – 2:00am
Nordie Cafe, Red Hill – 22/05/2021 9:09am – 9:34am
Doctors on Broadway – 18/05/2021 2:00pm – 3:45pm
The Palace Hotel – 21/05/2021 5:45pm – 6:45pm
Circus Bar – 23/05/2021 1:30am – 4:15am
Criniti’s Southbank – 23/05/2021 6:00pm – 9:30pm
Little Tienda – 22/05/2021 7:45am – 8:20am
Insportz Knox – 20/05/2021 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Tier 2: Get tested urgently and isolate until you receive a negative result
Hairfolk, Bendigo – 22/05/2021 9:40am – 10:10am
Barkly Square: Priceline, Kmart, Woolworths, OPSM – 22/05/2021 1:15pm – 2:30pm
RMIT Campus, Building 56, Carlton – 21/05/2021 8:00am – 10:30am
BP Southvale – 22/05/2021 8:10am – 8:30am
Ritchies IGA Pentridge, Coburg – 24/05/2021 6:45pm – 7:25pm
IGA Coburg – 22/05/2021 2:30pm – 2:50pm
Cohuna Football and Netball Club, Cohuna Recreation Reserve – 22/05/2021 12:00pm – 5:00pm
Marvel Stadium – (Level 1 Aisles 5-28 and Level 3 Aisles 6-29) – 23/05/2021 4:30pm – 7:30pm
7-Eleven Fairfield East – 23/05/2021 7:45pm – 8:00pm
Melbourne Cricket Ground – Zone 4, Level 1 – 23/05/2021 2:50pm – 6:30pm
Tier 3: Monitor for symptoms
Marvel Stadium – all other zones not individually listed – 23/05/2021 4:30pm – 7:30pm
Melbourne Cricket Ground – All of the Stadium, other than Zone 4, Level 1 – 23/05/2021 2:50pm – 6:30pm