Victoria has recorded 10 new locally acquired cases of coronavirus as the state stares down a resurgence of the virus.
All of the cases are linked to a Thai restaurant in the Melbourne suburb of Black Rock.
“That brings together a total of 18 cases associated with that cafe spreading out across a significant geography,” the state’s testing chief Jeroen Weimar told reporters Saturday.
In the past 24 hour period, Victoria also detected two more cases from returning international travellers who are now in hotel quarantine.
The latest figure – on the back of more than 18,000 tests – takes the current number of known active cases in the state to 29.
On Friday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian revealed that two cases from Victoria’s recent outbreak visited the NSW South Coast, prompting alerts for a restaurant and cafe.
The two cases were later confirmed by Victorian health authorities and have been included in today’s numbers. The pair are now isolating in Victoria.
Victoria has shut out travellers from NSW as health authorities race to contain the low but growing levels of community transmission.
Motorists queued up to get to Victoria before the Friday midnight deadline to avoid having to quarantine, with Melbourne Covid-19 testing centres swelling to cope with thousands of tests.
The hard border brings to an end a confusing progression of lesser border restrictions Victoria had been making since the lead-up to Christmas.
“We make no apologies for closing the border. It was based on public health advice. I acknowledge the significant disruption and the significant implications that that has made,” Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley told reporters Saturday.
Growing Melbourne cluster linked to NSW
Mr Foley said the science showed that the Black Rock cluster had spread to the Melbourne suburb from the Sydney Northern Beaches outbreak, saying “the genomic proof is in the pudding”.
“We have established the link between New South Wales' cluster and the outbreak in Victoria. We are determined to get on top of it and I know that requires what appears to some people to be tough measures but the virus does not respect state borders,” he said.
“The virus does not respect holiday periods and the virus does not respect many things and we need to make sure that we stay ahead of this cluster and we take all the necessary measures we can to make sure that we bring it under control as soon as possible.”
The Department of Health and Human Service’s testing commander Jeroen Weimar said while the outbreak in Victoria was seeded from the Northern Beaches, work was still being done to identify the precise linkage and identify the case.
“At the end of the day we are all both in New South Wales and Victoria dealing with one outbreak. We are all working together to get this outbreak under control, for the benefit of not only the Victorian community but the whole of the eastern seaboard,” he said.
Victorians are urged to stay up to date with exposure sites where infectious people have travelled to in recent weeks. You can see the full list here.
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