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Melbourne’s Covid outbreak spreads to regional Victoria as the state records another four cases

Melbourne’s latest coronavirus outbreak is spreading further into regional Victoria as the state recorded four new cases and more exposure sites on Friday afternoon.

Four teachers at Bacchus Marsh Grammar school, located 55km northwest of Melbourne, are infected with the virus. The principal is concerned hundreds of staff and students have been exposed.  

There is a confirmed case in Cowes on Phillip Island, southeast of Melbourne, and a family member of a student at Clarendon College in Ballarat has tested positive, sparking fears there could be a massive outbreak at the school.

A staff member at Deakin University in Geelong is also confirmed to have the virus. 

Melbourne’s latest coronavirus outbreak has spread to regional Victoria as the state records four new cases and 126 exposure sites 

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

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 126 exposure sites in a blow to any hopes of residents getting an early release from the state’s five-day lockdown.   

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 to Phillip Island.

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. 

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.

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.’  

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'

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

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

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

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

There are now 24 cases linked to the outbreak with 1,500 close contacts and 5,000 secondary contacts identified

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VICTORIA’S NEW LOCKDOWN

– The lockdown is scheduled to run from Thursday July 15 at 11:59pm until Tuesday July 20 at 11:59pm. 

– There will be only five lawful reasons to leave home

1. Essential shopping

2. Two hours of daily exercise within a 5km radius

3. To seek or provide medical care 

4. Work or study that cannot be done from home.

5. To go and get vaccinated. 

– Face masks will be mandatory indoors and outdoors

– Schools will return to online learning 

– 5km travel limit for essential tasks, including shopping and exercise

– If your business was closed during the last lockdown, they must close this lockdown

– Hospitality open for takeaway only

– General retail is closed, as well as all non-essential businesses 

– Visitors to the home are banned

– Funerals capped at ten people, while weddings are banned

– Professional sport can proceed but with no crowds 

– Outdoor parks and play areas are open, but those indoors must close 

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

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

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

One of the Ariele Apartment residents forced into two weeks of quarantine after Covid-infected removalists visited the residential complex last Thursday

Residents at the Ariele Apartments at Maribyrnong

Residents at the Ariele Apartments at Maribyrnong

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

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

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

Fears are growing that restrictions will be extended for several more weeks as a Covid outbreak, which began in Sydney, wreaks havoc across Melbourne

BREAKDOWN OF VICTORIA’S GROWING COVID-19 CLUSTERS 

REMOVALIST CLUSTER

* 13 cases

* Five cases linked to residents of the Ariele Apartments in Maribyrnong where NSW removalists worked on July 8

* A resident in his 60s passed on the virus to his parents, aged 89 and 90, who live in Craigieburn

* He also attended an AFL game between Carlton and Geelong at the MCG on Saturday with a friend, a Bacchus Marsh Grammar teacher

* The friend, a Barwon Heads man in his 50s has since tested positive as have two members of his household, another man in his 60s and a nine-year-old child

* An adult and a child who were sitting in the same section of the MCG as the two men have also tested positive in a case of suspected ‘stranger-to-stranger transmission’

* Another case was on Thursday afternoon detected in a man in his 20s who was in the MCC Members’ Reserve area at the MCG at the same time as the two men

HUME FAMILY CLUSTER

* Five cases

* A family of four returned from NSW, three by car and one by plane on July 4 and July 8. All four have progressively tested positive since Sunday

* A man in his 30s who attended Coles Craigieburn at the same time as one of the family members and knows the family is also infected.

CLOSE CONTACTS AND EXPOSURE SITES

* 1500 primary close contacts, 5000 secondary

* More than 75 exposure sites including two gyms, a football club and multiple metro trains and trams

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)

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

Shops in the Arcade Plaza have been forced to close as Melbourne begins its fifth lockdown

MELBOURNE’S NEW 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:  

Point Cook: Sanctuary Lakes Charcoal Chicken & Salad Bar – Wednesday, July 14, 12:46pm – 1:20pm

Richmond: Percy Beames Bar, Members’ Reserve (Level 2) – Melbourne Cricket Ground –  Saturday July 10, 4:00pm – 4:30pm and 5:20pm – 5:50pm

Sunshine:  Helping Hands Mission Inc Sunshine Op Shop – Monday, July 12, 10:30am – 11:30am

Niddrie: Vinnies Niddrie – Monday July 12, 11:30am – 12:30pm

Moonee Ponds: Hero Sushi – Monday July 12, 2:30pm – 3:15pm

Maidstone: Chemist Warehouse – Monday July 12, 5:10pm – 5:50pm 

Bundoora: Dr Suguna Vimalanathan Dental Surgery –  Tuesday July 13, 12:30pm – 1:03pm and 2:00pm – 3:30pm

Bundoora: Salvos Stores Bundoora – Tuesday July 13, 11:45am – 1:00pm

Moonee Ponds: Australian Red Cross Moonee Ponds Op Shop – Monday, July 12, 12:30pm – 1:15pm

Carnegie: Spotlight – Tuesday July 13, 4:20pm – 5:00pm

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:  

Williamstown: Coles – Tuesday July 13, 5:20pm – 5:55pm

Richmond:  MCC Members’ Reserve (all other staff and ticketholders, all levels), Carlton v Geelong game – Saturday July 10, 4:00pm – 8:00pm

Richmond: Coles – Monday July 12, 12:30pm – 1:05pm

Richmond: Soul Origin – Monday July 12, 12:35pm – 1:10pm

Richmond: Victoria Gardens Shopping Centre – Basement level car park (Purple Zone)  – Monday July 12, 8:50am – 9:30am and 4:30pm – 5:10pm

Avondale Heights: Coles – Monday July 12, 8:00am – 9:15am

Chadstone: ZiNG Pop Culture – Monday July 12, 5:25pm – 6:00pm

Chadstone: Target – Monday July 12, 5:25pm – 6:00pm

Chadstone: Kmart – Monday July 12, 5:25pm – 6:00pm 

Carnegie:  Carnegie Central – Tuesday July 13, 4:20pm – 5:20pm

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk