Anti-vax protester tests positive for Covid after Melbourne rally

·3-min read

A protester who attended an anti-vaccine rally in Melbourne has tested positive for Covid.

The man, who attended the event on Wednesday with hundreds of others, has sparked fears it could lead to a super spreader event.

The Health Department has confirmed a protester is being treated in hospital.

A Covid positive man attended Wednesday's protests, sparking fears of a larger outbreak. Source: AAP
A Covid positive man attended Wednesday's protests, sparking fears of a larger outbreak. Source: AAP

“Public health investigations are underway,” a statement read.

“We are urging protesters to get tested should they experience Covid-like symptoms, no matter how mild.”

The positive case will be included in tomorrow’s case numbers.

Risk of a large outbreak

Chair of Epidemiology at Deakin University Catherine Bennett told the Courier Mail there are concerns the protesters won't get tested and could allow the virus to spread undetected in the community for weeks.

“We’re only going to know about these cases if someone is unwell enough and has to go to hospital,” she said.

“The worry is that people might develop symptoms over the next few days but not test.

“We’ll probably know in a couple of weeks if people do have the virus and don’t get tested as it takes a while before it comes to the surface… it can take a few generations to spread out.”

Shrine of Remembrance demonstration slammed

Between 400 to 600 attended another protest in Melbourne on Wednesday, despite stay-at-home orders and repeated warnings from authorities.

Demonstrators were seen at the Shrine of Remembrance, not wearing masks, some wearing high-vis clothing, leading to a tense standoff with police.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews slammed the demonstration at the Shrine as "disgusting".

"It's a sacred place. It's a place where we honour the sacrifice of those who gave so much, and it's just not appropriate to be there," he said.

Men standing outside the shrine of remembrance in Melbourne wearing hi-vis and no masks protesting.
The protest has been condemned by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. Source: AAP

The protests initially began in opposition to mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for the construction sector and the closure of building site tea rooms, but have since turned into wider unrest.

Wednesday's stand-off lasted more than three hours as police tried to negotiate with protesters to peacefully exit via St Kilda Road.

Protests began last week when construction workers were told they could not have breaks in tea rooms because of the risk of spreading coronavirus.

Getting a Covid-19 vaccine was made mandatory for the industry, prompting another protest in front of the CFMEU office on Monday.

Authorities say while there are construction workers in the crowds, there have been other groups including anti-lockdown activists dressed in high-visibility clothing.

Victoria reported 766 new locally acquired Covid-19 cases and four deaths on Thursday.

It is not only the highest of the Delta outbreak but the entire pandemic, eclipsing the 725-case peak of Victoria's second wave in 2020.

with AAP.

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