Lockdown extended by seven days as clusters grow

Benjamin Millar and Goya Dmytryshchak

Thirteen new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 were recorded on Monday as Victoria’s lockdown was extended by seven days.

With the total number of active cases in Victoria at 85, the lockdown is set to end next Tuesday at 11.59pm.

Eighteen thousand primary close contacts of those cases had been identified, Victoria’s COVID commander Jeroen Weimar said.

Fourteen cases have been linked to the MCG, including nine who attended the Carlton-Geelong match on Saturday, July 10.

Residents of the Ariele Apartment complex in Maribyrnong today enter the second week of their 14-day quarantine after being exposed to COVID-positive removalists from Sydney.

An infectious man in his 60s from the apartments had attended level two of the MCC Members’ Reserve at the MCG on July 10, caught two trams and a train, and visited Young and Jackson and a number of other places. He attended Highpoint Shopping Centre on Friday, July 9.

He attended the game with his friend from Barwon Heads, a teacher at Bacchus Marsh Grammar school, who tested positive.

The man’s parents in Craigieburn, aged 89 and 90, tested positive.

Premier Daniel Andrews has announced there would be no further as-of-right red zone travel for two weeks except for compassionate exemptions and authorised workers.

“The trend is good but we need more time to be absolutely certain that all that we’ve given and all that we’ve done has been successful,” he said.

“There’s very little margin for error in this.

“Leaving it smouldering, this Delta variant, leaving it with a handful of cases even, really does mean that you almost certainly will have a further outbreak, further lockdowns and potentially finish up in a situation where you’re locked down, not for days, but you’re locked down for months.”

He said nine of the new cases were fully isolated for their infectious period.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the current outbreak had touched all of Victoria.

“We’ve seen significant and stand alone outbreaks in regional areas – in Phillip Island, in Bacchus Marsh, Barwon Heads and as far away as Mildura,” he said.

“This outbreak has touched the whole state and that was in a way that the Delta and Kappa outbreaks didn’t do back in May and June.

“Much of that is due to the super-spreading events early on in this outbreak that took place in the MCC Members’ Reserve for the Geelong-Carlton game, something that brings Victorians from far and wide and back home far and wide across Victoria.”

A COVID-19 outbreak at Bacchus Marsh Grammar school has triggered an urgent testing blitz and forced more than 2300 students into isolation.

Pop-up testing sites have been established at the Bacchus Marsh and Ballan railway station car parks and the Moorabool community has been on high alert since news broke of the glowing cluster, sparked by an asymptomatic COVID-19 positive teacher attending last Monday’s staff day.