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Victoria races to control ‘flying embers’ as eight new cases identified, exposure sites swell

“At this point in time, I would encourage any members of the community who have been in the Highpoint shopping centre on Friday, between 10 and 2pm, to please come forward and get tested,” he said.

“This is clearly a very rapidly moving situation; we’re very keen to make sure we get a very firm grip of this as soon as we possibly can.”

Mr Weimar said he needed the whole community to come together once again to make sure Victoria “surged” around the two chains of transmission and got them under control quickly.

“I need to find any cases that are out there to get them under control, and obviously we need to continue to work very closely with our red zone arrivals to make sure that these flying embers don’t catch light again,” he said.

More tier-1 locations were added to Victoria’s list of exposure sites on Wednesday afternoon, including CBD pub Young & Jackson on the corner of Flinders and Swanston streets. Anyone who was at the venue between 2.40pm and 4.10pm on July 10 is required to get tested and isolate for 14 days regardless of the result.

Four of the cases are in the locked-down Ariele Apartments on the third floor.

Four of the cases are in the locked-down Ariele Apartments on the third floor.Credit:Eddie Jim

Three other stores in Highpoint – body-piercing studio SkinKandy, The Reject Shop and a Ferguson Plarre bakery outlet – were also listed as tier-1 sites.

The other tier-1 additions were Vanilla Lounge at Eaton Mall in Oakleigh and the Maribyrnong Aquatic Centre next to Highpoint. The specific dates and times of the exposures can be viewed here.

Level one of Highpoint’s north car park, an Aldi store in Maribyrnong and level two of the MCG Members’ Reserve for the Carlton versus Geelong game on July 10 were also added as tier-2 sites, meaning people who attended the venues at the relevant times must immediately get tested and quarantine until they receive a negative result.

Anyone who attended Saturday’s AFL match at the MCG (excluding level two of the members’ zone) between 4pm and 8pm is considered a tier-3 contact.

In Victoria, tier-3 contacts are asked to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and must immediately isolate and get tested if any symptoms develop.

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MCG in focus

Thousands of people who watched the Carlton versus Geelong game on July 10, particularly in the Members’ Reserve, will be required to get tested and isolate.

The official attendance at the match was just over 30,000 and Mr Weimar said there would be a variety of tier-1, tier-2 and tier-3 exposure sites declared at the MCG after a resident of the Ariele Apartments attended the match.

About 2000 people would be classified as tier-2 contacts after attending the Members’ Reserve.

“There will be a number of people we identify who are in very close proximity to this individual,” Mr Weimar said.

“There will be tier-1 exposures – we’ll be contacting them directly based on the ticketing information and the CCTV information …. over the coming hours.

“There will be other people on the ground who [authorities] would regard as tier-3 exposures. We’ll ask them to monitor the symptoms and come forward and get tested.”

Hume cluster grows after supermarket contact

The City of Hume cluster has grown by two cases, after a man in his 30s caught the virus and the fourth member of a family who had travelled from Sydney and started the cluster tested positive overnight.

The man in his 30s was connected to the family, authorities suspect, because he visited the Coles at Craigieburn, which was one of the family’s exposure sites.

“We have identified … that one of the family members did go to Coles for a short period of time,” Mr Weimar said.

“We know that [the man in his 30s] was at the Craigieburn Coles around the same time as one of the positive cases.”

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Victoria had earlier announced one new confirmed local coronavirus case overnight who was a known primary close contact who had isolated during their infectious period. The state also reported one case in its hotel quarantine in the 24 hours to midnight on Tuesday.

Authorities had identified two new tier-1 exposure sites in Kalkallo, a town about 30 kilometres north of Melbourne’s CBD, late on Tuesday evening.

The new sites are the Hungry Jack’s off the Hume Highway and the Caltex, including the fuel bowsers and toilets, between 9.07am and 10.06am on July 8.

Before the recent additions, there were four sites in Victoria: the Coles at Craigieburn Central, the Ariele Apartments complex in Maribyrnong, and a Mobil service station and McDonald’s in Ballan, about 80 kilometres north-west of Melbourne.

The latter three exposure sites relate to the removalist crew, and Mr Weimar again expressed frustration at their lack of co-operation.

“It turns out they were in two trucks, not one truck, which makes their journey even more impressive,” Mr Weimar said during Wednesday’s COVID-19 update.

“There was an additional stop, and the Kalkallo Caltex and Hungry Jack’s on July 8 between [9.07am and 10.06am].”

The duo, along with a third removalist, drove from NSW to Victoria on July 8, dropping off furniture at a home in Craigieburn before heading to the Ariele Apartments complex in Maribyrnong, where they collected furniture over a number of hours.

They then drove to Ballan, stopping at the Mobil service station and McDonald’s.

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Mr Weimar said on Tuesday removalists hadn’t been as forthcoming with authorities as he would have liked.

On Wednesday, he described them as a “declining lead”. He said he was “exceptionally frustrated at the pace and transparency of information coming from the removalist exposure”.

“We’ve got more important things to do than fret over a removalist who may or may not, for whatever reason, want to provide as much information as we would like,” Mr Weimar said.

“We’ll squeeze that rock as much as we need to, but I’ve got other work to do. I think we’ve got the vast majority of useful information we’re probably going to get from these people.”

WA beefs up border restrictions with Victoria

Meanwhile, Victoria travellers arriving in Western will be required to quarantine for 14 days after the state reinstated border restrictions.

Acting WA Premier Stephen Dawson said adjustments to the state’s border arrangements with Victoria needed to be made immediately after the NSW outbreak spread to Victoria.

“Western Australia has always taken an extra cautious approach to its border controls and this has proven effective in keeping WA safe from COVID-19,” he said.

Travellers from Victoria will be required to quarantine at a place of their choice and get tested within 48 hours of arrival and on day 11. They must also complete an entry pass, declaring they don’t have COVID-19 symptoms and outlining what areas in Victoria they visited over the past 14 days.

With David Estcourt, Hamish Hastie

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