Victoria records 19 new local cases of COVID-19, all linked to current outbreak

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Victoria has recorded 19 new local cases on Saturday after the Department of Health identified more exposure sites near popular tourist spot Phillip Island, a Richmond gym and in a Docklands office building.

There were 47,606 test results received.

Two of the cases included in Saturday’s figures are teachers from Bacchus Marsh Grammar, who were announced on Friday afternoon.

There were 165 exposure sites visited by those infectious with COVID-19 across Victoria as of 8am on Saturday morning.

More than 10 exposure sites have been named near popular Victorian holiday destination Phillip Island between Monday and Thursday, including in the localities of San Remo, Cowes and Newhaven.

The ground floor of the main building in the North Pier Hotel in Cowes has been declared a tier-1 exposure site between 7.22pm to 10.47pm on Monday. Visitors to the pub during those times must isolate for 14 days and get a COVID-19 test.

The Phillip Island Chocolate Factory, the Phillip Island Bakery and The Nobbies are among the tourist drawcards identified as tier-2 exposure sites by the Department of Health.

Tower 4 of Collins Square in Docklands has been named a tier-1 exposure site for Level 19 on Tuesday between 8.15am and 5.30pm, Wednesday between 9am and 6.30pm, and on Thursday between 10.50am and 3.15pm.

The end of trip facilities in car park 1 at 727 Collins Street were also identified as a tier-1 site on Tuesday at 7.55am to 8.30am and on Thursday between 7.50am to 8.30am.

Richmond’s F45 gym is a tier-1 exposure site on Wednesday from 6.50am to 8.05am and again on Thursday from 6.35am to 8.05am.

The new cases comes after experts say that those on “specified worker” permits from the Victorian government should be tested before they enter the state, in order to add an extra layer of protection.

The construction sector is one of the industries whose employees are being granted the permits, which allow workers entering Victoria from red zones such as Sydney to leave quarantine to shop for food and medical supplies.

Deakin University’s chair in epidemiology, Catherine Bennett, called the more lenient rules “a preventable risk”, saying she could not understand why those workers were treated differently to other red zone arrivals.

A Health Department spokesperson said there are arrangements in place to allow border crossings for “workers carrying out jobs that keep Victoria’s economy going”.

“These permits come with strict obligations and if these are broken, significant penalties may apply.”

Removalists or delivery drivers who have been in a red zone — as Sydney currently is — in the past 14 days can no longer enter Victoria.

Melbourne outbreak was spurred by three removalists from western Sydney working at Maribyrnong apartment building where they broke the rules of their freight worker permits and did not wear masks.

Ten new locally acquired cases were announced in Friday’s official numbers, including four cases revealed on Thursday.

There were 19,237 vaccines administered on Friday.

With Michael Fowler and Annika Smethurst

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