Three Victorian schools and one university have become the state’s latest outbreak hotspots with hundreds of staff and thousands of students potentially exposed to the virus.
Four teachers at Bacchus Marsh Grammar school, located 55km northwest of Melbourne, are infected with the virus.
Trinity College in Kew has seen three teachers test positive to the highly-infectious Delta variant, as has a family member of a senior student at Ballarat’s Clarendon College.
A professor at Geelong’s Deakin University has also tested positive, with potentially thousands of staff and students exposed across the four institutions.
A leading epidemiologist at the University of Melbourne said Victoria will need a lot of luck to see their lockdown end on Tuesday.
‘I am concerned by the pace of this outbreak – Delta moves fast,’ Professor Nancy Baxter told the Herald Sun.
‘We would be very lucky to get out of lockdown on Tuesday… and Melbourne has not had much luck.’
Four teachers at Bacchus Marsh Grammar school (pictured), located 55km northwest of Melbourne, are infected with the virus
The latest cases from Bacchus Marsh (pictured) came from a staff development day that saw 315 personnel in attendance. Thousands of students might have been exposed
Trinity College in Kew has seen three teachers test positive with the Delta variant
Melbourne residents cross the bridge over the Yarra River on the first day of a five-day lockdown. Hopes of life returning to normal ahead of schedule have suffered a setback with the news the Indian Delta variant is spreading throughout the state
Victoria is now dealing with 26 cases of Covid-19 and 155 exposure sites in a blow to any hopes of residents getting an early release from the state’s five-day lockdown.
A state minister told the Herald Sun it would be ‘ambitious’ to think they would be out of their lockdown after the five-day period, saying they’d need ‘everything to fall our way’ for it to end Tuesday.
Ballarat Clarendon College principal David Sheppard sent an email to staff and parents on Friday morning saying the family member of a senior school student had tested positive and that they were awaiting further advice from the government.
‘We will provide information to our community as required, and as directed as soon as it becomes available,’ Mr Sheppard said in the email.
‘It is our collective responsibility to follow the advice and guidance of health experts.
‘This is obviously an unsettling time for us all but particularly the Clarendon family as they navigate the next few days.’
The latest cases from Bacchus Marsh came from a staff development day that saw 315 personnel in attendance.
Ballarat Clarendon College principal David Sheppard sent an email to staff and parents on Friday morning saying the family member of a senior school student had tested positive
A staff member teaching at Deakin University in Geelong also tested positive, with the college’s Vice Chancellor confirming they had temporarily closed several classrooms
All four of the Covid-positive teachers are based at the Maddingley Middle/Senior School, with the campus designated as a Tier 1 site.
Principal Andrew Neal sent a letter to parents on Monday confirming the infected teachers had been in contact with their children.
‘Unfortunately, some of the recently infected staff have been in direct contact with students,’ the letter obtained by the Herald Sun reads.
‘The earlier advice that all students should stay at home and isolate still applies and we will update you with further advice as we are provided it,’ he added.
‘We currently have a significant number of staff tests back but given the size of the school we are still obviously waiting on a number from yesterday.’
A staff member teaching at Deakin University in Geelong also tested positive, with the college’s Vice Chancellor confirming they had temporarily closed several classrooms.
‘Based on our understanding of the staff member’s movements, Deakin has temporarily closed buildings IC, IB and JB for deep cleaning. The staff member was not involved in any teaching activity while on campus,’ Professor Iain Martin said.
‘We have identified a small number of close contacts on campus and have already advised those people to isolate and get tested.
‘However, if you were at the Waurn Ponds campus on Wednesday 14 July, anytime between 9am and 3pm, I urge you to watch and follow the advice of the Department of Health and Human Services.’
There is a confirmed case in Cowes on Phillip Island, southeast of Melbourne, with the Phillip Island Ten Pin Bowling and Entertainment and San Remo Fisherman’s Co-op are among the latest additions to Victoria’s growing exposure list, as the virus spreads further to regional areas of the state.
The two venues have been listed as Tier 1 sites, with anyone in attendance on Friday morning being told to immediately get tested and isolate for 14 days regardless of the result.
Melbourne’s latest coronavirus outbreak has spread to regional Victoria as the state records four new cases and 126 exposure sites
The Victorian premier said he understood the frustration among Victorians as they began their first day of a five-day long lockdown to curb the spread of the ‘Sydney incursion’
Mr Andrews claimed it was better to suffer through a short lockdown than a prolonged one – in a subtle dig against NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian who has been forced to extend restrictions across Greater Sydney until at least the end of July
Earlier on Friday Dan Andrews took a swipe at his New South Wales counterpart after positive cases from Sydney brought the virus back to Melbourne.
The Victorian Premier said he understood the frustration among Victorians as they began their first day of a five-day long lockdown to curb the spread of the ‘Sydney incursion’.
‘I know and understand that this is not easy,’ he said. ‘No-one wants to be locked down.
‘But we had no choice and these additional cases overnight and particularly some of the context of these cases I think confirm for all Victorians that we had to make that tough call.’
Mr Andrews claimed it was better to suffer through a short lockdown than a prolonged one – in a subtle dig against NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian who has been forced to extend restrictions across Greater Sydney until at least the end of July.
‘We have done it before and we have done before with the Delta variants,’ he said. ‘We can do it again and we will do it again.’
‘We are all working as hard as we possibly can to make this as short a lockdown as possible, five days.
‘That is certainly better than five weeks or five months.’
On June 26, Ms Berejiklian introduced a two week lockdown in Greater Sydney after more than 80 cases were linked to an outbreak of the Delta variant of the virus.
The lockdown has since been extended with the virus running rampant in south-west Sydney and the state recording a staggeringly high number of cases each day – peaking at 112 on Monday.
Mr Andrews, on the other hand, plunged his state into lockdown despite Victoria recording just a handful of cases.
On Friday, only ten cases were reported – but four of them were already announced on Thursday.
There are now 24 cases linked to the outbreak with 1,500 close contacts and 5,000 secondary contacts identified.
The figure comes after 33,129 Covid-19 tests were conducted and 17,188 vaccines administered in the last 24 hours.
Covid response commander Jeroen Weimar said 100 new exposure sites had been added, bringing the list up to 126.
AAMI Park, Hastings at Mornington Peninsula and a Chemist Warehouse in Frankston are among the new additions.
New Tier One exposure sites include the Salvo store on Plenty Road in Bundoora, Banyule City Council offices in Greensborough and the Ms Frankie restaurant in Cremorne.
Ten cases were reported overall – but four of them were already announced on Thursday
A deserted Melbourne as the city began its first-day of lockdown on Friday, which will end at 11.59pm on Tuesday
There are now 24 cases linked to the outbreak with 1,500 close contacts and 5,000 secondary contacts identified
Two staff members at Bacchus Marsh Grammar have been identified, bringing the total number of cases to six.
Dr Weimar said there were 916 close contacts linked to the cases.
Four more cases have been linked to the Melbourne Cricket Ground including a 10-year-old child and a man in his 30s who is a staff member at Trinity College.
Two teachers at Trinity have also tested positive, it was announced on Friday night.
Two cases have been connected to the Young & Jackson’s pub in Melbourne’s CBD.
Dr Weimar said positive Covid-19 residents staying in the Ariele Apartments in Maribyrnong have also been moved into quarantine or ‘alternative accommodation’.
The entire 78 apartment complex was plunged into a two week long lockdown after it was revealed two Covid-19 positive removalists from Sydney had carried furniture throughout the building last Thursday.
Fears are growing that restrictions will be extended for several more weeks as a Covid outbreak, which began in Sydney, wreaks havoc across Melbourne.
News of the lockdown prompted demonstrators to take to the streets and demand the resignation from state premier Daniel Andrews, who has enforced the hardline restrictions five times since the pandemic began in 2020.
Sources close to the Andrews government said that officials were initially aiming to tighten restrictions, not go back into lockdown, until they found out people had caught the virus from strangers at the stadium.
Bourke Street is all but deserted on the first day of a five-day long lockdown in Melbourne
Commuters walking outside of a normally busy Flinders Street Station during lockdown
One of the Ariele Apartment residents forced into two weeks of quarantine after Covid-infected removalists visited the residential complex last Thursday
Residents have been plunged into a five-day long lockdown as Victoria races to beat the spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19
The stay-at-home order came into effect at 11.59pm on Thursday as public health officials try desperately to keep a lid on the latest Covid-19 outbreak, which has since jumped to 24 cases.
But even if the outbreak is contained and the lockdown ends as planned on Tuesday, millions of Victorians face strict restrictions that could last weeks.
The lockdown rules around hospitality, masks and the number of visitors in homes are likely to be slowly wound back over time rather than removed immediately.
In a welcome reprieve, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a newly-introduced $600 relief payment from the Federal Government for hard-hit Victorians.
The highly infectious Indian Delta strain is feared to already be spreading throughout Melbourne after the Percy Beames bar at the MCG was flagged as a Covid exposure site, sending hundreds from all over Victoria into self-isolation.
The figure comes after 33,129 Covid-19 tests were conducted and 17,188 vaccines administered in the last 24 hours
Covid response commander Jeroen Weimar said 100 new exposure sites had been added, bringing the list up to 126
Fears are growing that restrictions will be extended for several more weeks as a Covid outbreak, which began in Sydney, wreaks havoc across Melbourne
Already, 6,500 Victorians are in lockdown, including a complete 14-day isolation for residents of the Ariele Apartments in Melbourne’s north-west, where infected Sydney removalists first spread the virus.
Exposure sites have since popped up in Frankston, in Melbourne’s southeast and Hastings on the Mornington Peninsula, indicating the five-day circuit breaker may not be enough to contain the rapid spread and that the stay-at-home orders will inevitably be extended past Tuesday.
Mr Andrews made the call to shut down the state after Sydney’s surging outbreak spread to Melbourne last week, when the team of infected removalists travelled to Victoria under essential work permits.
Prime Minister Morrison has since declared $600 disaster relief payments would be made available to workers who have been hit hard by the lockdown.
But while some residents see the draconian restrictions as a necessary measure to contain the virus, hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters took to the streets in protest demanding Mr Andrews’ resignation.
Melbourne is expected to come out of lockdown at 11.59pm on Tuesday (pictured, trams running along St Kilda Road)
Shops in the Arcade Plaza have been forced to close as Melbourne begins its fifth lockdown