Victoria is on the brink of an ‘unavoidable’ snap lockdown after the state’s latest coronavirus outbreak climbed to 16 cases. 

Crisis meetings between Victorian government ministers and health officials will continue on Thursday afternoon, amid speculation the state will be plunged into its fifth lockdown in 16 months. 

Details of the ‘unavoidable’ snap lockdown are still being discussed with a decision to be announced by Premier Daniel Andrews later on Thursday and would come into effect from midnight, the Herald Sun reported.

Health department sources told the publication it would be similar to the previous lockdown and would likely last between three and five days.

Officials believe Victoria needs to go hard and go early to contain its latest outbreak.

The lockdown is expected to include the closure of schools, along with a host of new restrictions to be reinstated. 

Victoria initially recorded no further local cases on Thursday on top of 10 new cases announced a day earlier.

Health officials have since confirmed two more cases who attended an AFL match between Geelong and Carlton at the MCG last Saturday.

The pair, believed to be a man and 11-year-old boy are linked to an infected Maribyrnong man who sat in a separate area in the MCC member’s reserve on level 2.

Victoria’s Covid-19 commander Jeroen Weimar confirmed a snap lockdown hasn’tbeen ruled out as the state’s growing list of exposure sites surged to 75.

Melbourne is headed towards a likely snap lockdown after the outbreak grew to 16 cases. Pictured are health workers at Ariele Apartments in Maribyrnong on Thursday

Melburnians (pictured on Thursday) are expected to be plunged into their fifth lockdown into 16 months from midnight

A Melbourne man works on his laptop at a cafe as the state’s latest outbreak grows to 16

BREAKDOWN OF VICTORIA’S GROWING COVID-19 CLUSTERS 

REMOVALIST CLUSTER

* 11 cases

* Four 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’

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

 

‘The team is reviewing all the data and all the epidemiology,’ Mr Weimar told reporters on Thursday.

‘This situation is moving not so much hour-by-hour, but half-hour by half-hour.’ 

The latest two cases announced on Thursday afternoon were described by Mr Weimar as a ‘significant cause for concern’.

They’re not known contacts of the infected AFL fan from Maribyrnong and appears to be a case of ‘stranger-to-stranger transmission’. 

‘They were sitting in very different parts of the ground. There’s no obvious relationship between them. The interviews and discussions are ongoing as we speak,’ Mr Weimar said.  

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

‘We need to establish whether there are any other people who were at the MCG – that’s a critical bit of information we need to get to today,’ Mr Weimar said

‘If you are getting those tier one, tier two text messages and you haven’t got tested, we need you to come and do that now. ‘Whatever you’re doing at the moment, stop doing it. Please come and get tested so we can get that information and get you safe and secure.’

Victoria’s 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

An infected man, aged in his 60s from Maribyrnong, attended Saturday’s AFL match with a friend in his 50s from Barwon Heads, who has subsequently tested positive.

The Barwon Heads man is understood to be a teacher at Bacchus Marsh Grammar and has infected his household contacts, a man in his 60s and a nine-year-old child.

Both Bacchus Marsh Grammar and Barwon Heads Primary School have been closed and more than 3500 students and staff are self-isolating.

The child who tested positive on Thursday is understood to have attended St Patrick’s Primary School in Murrumbeena, which has also closed.

The Maribyrnong man lives at the Ariele Apartments complex, where removalists from NSW, who have since tested positive to COVID-19, were working on July 8.

Some 200 residents of the complex have been told they will need to restart their 14-day quarantine after the cases emerged.

Residents of Ariele Apartments in Maribyrnong getting some fresh air on their balcony.

Melburnians flocked to testing sites on Thursday as the list of exposure sites grows. Pictured is a drive-through testing clinic at Albert Park

More cases emerged on Thursday as Melburnians flocked to testing clinics to be swabbed

Another case of community transmission occurred at Craigieburn Coles on Saturday, when a man contracted the virus from a member of a family that recently returned from NSW.  

‘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,’ Mr Weimar said.

‘We’ll have a better picture soon.’

‘This is probably the fastest response we have ever seen to an outbreak that’s moving more quickly than we have ever seen in Victoria, or I suspect anywhere else in Australia.’ 

He added crowds at the MCG would ‘almost certainly’ be reduced in light of the outbreak.

Victoria is onto its seventh ring of contact tracing across the two outbreaks.

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.    

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

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)

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. 

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.

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

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 childrenA 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 complexThree 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-oldThe 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 1428 votes No 251 votes Not sure 70 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

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

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

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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