Coronavirus Victoria: Cases drop as authorities pounce on cluster

Tom Flanagan
·News Reporter
·2-min read

Victoria’s coronavirus cases have dropped as health authorities scramble to contain a cluster of infections in Melbourne’s north ahead of Sunday’s planned easing of restrictions.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced just one new case on Friday and follows five confirmed on Thursday.

The sole case sees Melbourne’s 14-day rolling average sink to 5.5, agonisingly close to the roadmap’s initial Step Three trigger point of under five. Mystery cases over a two-week period have remained at 10.

Victoria's cases have returned to below five. Source: AAP
Victoria's cases have returned to below five. Source: AAP

It is the third time in a week the state has recorded just one daily case.

A testing blitz is underway across five suburbs in the city’s north while more than 500 people have been ordered to isolate as the state looks to get on top of the outbreak.

Premier Daniel Andrews suggested earlier this week Sunday would see an announcement detailing an easing of restrictions for businesses from next week, yet attentions have shifted to the response to the emergence of cases in the north after a college student wrongly went to school while isolating and later turned out to be positive.

The rapid response from health authorities is a Melbourne first since the DHHS shifted to a cautious approach where the number of people told to isolate was ramped up – an approach seen during the Shepparton outbreak.

The department had faced criticism it hadn’t acted quickly enough or told enough people to isolate during the Chadstone cluster that led to a total of 39 cases.

Friday’s case number provides early evidence its system has improved, a day after Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said it was evident the state’s contact tracing had vastly improved.

The state recorded zero deaths in the previous 24 hours with the death toll remaining at 817.

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