Almost 1000 people isolated as Melbourne Covid cluster grows

Josh Dutton
·News Reporter
·3-min read

Nearly 1000 people have been placed into self-isolation in Victoria's bid to stop the spread of coronavirus linked to the latest hotel quarantine cluster.

So far, the state has recorded 20 cases of community transmission, with 14 linked to the Holiday Inn at Melbourne Airport.

Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Saturday there were 996 known primary close contacts related to the cluster as one new local coronavirus case was recorded in Victoria.

Pictured are two people wearing PPE moving suitcases in Melbourne.
Quarantining hotel guests at the Holiday Inn have moved from the accommodation as the cluster grows. Source: AAP

Primary close contacts are people who have had face-to-face contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19 while they were in an enclosed space and infectious, according to the health department’s definition.

Primary contacts are required to self-quarantine for at least 14 days.

Mr Andrews added he expected that number to grow as more come forward and through QR logins at the hotel.

The premier said the most recent case recorded late Friday was a friend of a worker at the hotel.

"Overnight and within eight hours of that test coming to us, all 38 household primary social close contacts of that person have been contacted, have been locked down, and we have already begun the process of testing each of those 38 people," he said.

"That will be a big focus of our efforts today and we hope to be able to report negative results, and all results, I should say, as soon as they come to us, most likely a feature of tomorrow's briefing."

Health workers are seen testing people for Covid-19 at Royal Melbourne Showgrounds on Monday.
People get tested at Royal Melbourne Showgrounds. Source: AAP

Encouragingly, Brunetti cafe at Melbourne Airport, which Victoria's testing commander Jeroen Weimar called "the most important and concerning", returned 11 negative tests after someone who worked a shift at the cafe tested positive while infectious on February 9 between 4.45am and 1.15pm.

“All 12 staff have been tested and 11 are negative. We have one more test result we are waiting on,” Mr Weimar said.

“That will come through later today. An encouraging start.”

Authorities have also contacted 38 customers at the cafe and all the cafe’s staff are being told to isolate for 14 days.

More than 20,000 Covid-19 tests were conducted on Friday.

Reporters shroud Daniel Andrews as he speaks at a press conference.
Daniel Andrews has acknowledged 'a lot of people' will be hurting in the five-day lockdown which has been imposed. Source: Getty Images

'A lot of people hurting' in lockdown

Victoria is on day one of a five-day lockdown.

Mr Andrews acknowledged “a lot of people will be hurting”.

“This is not the position Victorians wanted to be in but I can't have a situation where in two weeks' time, we look back and wish we had taken these decisions now,” he said.

“I've got advice to do it, I've done it, it's based on science, there is pain out there and I will have more to say about support for business and others who have been negatively impacted by this absolutely necessary public health measure, to protect all the things we've built, this precious thing with built.

“Victorians know it has to be done, we've done it before, we’ve shown courage and character and compassion for each other that sets us apart and that is what is happening today, but I know it's not easy, and that is why there will be support there and I will have more to say.”

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