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Victoria Covid cases: restrictions reintroduced as cluster in Melbourne’s north grows to five

Victoria has recorded its fifth case today, which brings in new restrictions in the state. A man in his 60s was identified as the fifth case in the Melbourne northern suburbs outbreak, with Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton concerned the man may have been infectious since at least May 17.

Acting premier James Merlino announced today morning that from 6pm private gatherings in the home will be limited to five people, public gatherings will be limited to 30, and face masks will need to be worn indoors for everyone aged 12 years and older. That requirement includes workplaces within Metropolitan Melbourne. Schools and workplaces will stay open and there are no changes to current density rules.

The acting premier confirmed genomic sequencing showed the Whittlesea outbreak was “closely related” to a man in nearby Wollert who tested positive earlier this month after returning from hotel quarantine in South Australia.

Health authorities have now identified 10 exposure sites as they race to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. Testing sites serving the city’s north were straining to cope with demand as people heeded public health advice.

“This is a stark reminder that waiting and thinking, ‘I will wait until the end of the year to get the Pfizer jab’… waiting is not an option,” he said. “If people want to avoid the situation we are in right now, there is something that everyone can do. If you are eligible, get vaccinated.”

The restrictions on Greater Melbourne are due to remain in place until 4 June. Four new locally acquired cases were reported on Monday, all from the same family across two households. A fifth case, a close contact, was notified by the Department of Health after midnight.

As a result of the outbreak, South Australian authorities have imposed fresh border restrictions in response to a cluster of four coronavirus cases detected in Melbourne yesterday. SA Police said people who have been to any one of several designated exposure sites at relevant times during the past week are now unable to enter the state.

The latest outbreak snapped Victoria’s 86-day streak without a locally acquired case. Victoria has 14 active cases, with the rest in hotel quarantine, and 14,892 tests in the 24 hours to Tuesday.

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