Fears coronavirus has spread 150km from Melbourne

·News Editor
·4-min read

Victoria is on high alert after it was revealed a coronavirus case travelled 150km away from the virus outbreak in Melbourne's north, with more than 45 venues now listed as Covid exposure sites. 

Six new cases were reported in the state on Wednesday, part of a growing cluster in Whittlesea which has now reached a total of 15 cases. 

New exposure sites have emerged as health authorities scramble to track the virus, with a hairdresser in Bendigo in regional Victoria and a tavern in nearby Axedale joining the growing list. 

Street view images of Hairfolk in Bendigo (left) and Axedale Tavern (right).
Hairfolk in Bendigo (left) and Axedale Tavern (right) have been listed as exposure sites. Source: Google Maps

Hairfolk in Bendigo, 150km from Melbourne, has been declared a tier 1 site and anybody who visited the salon on May 22 between 9.40am and 10.10am are told to get tested immediately and quarantine for 14 days from exposure. 

One of the positive cases also attended a function at the Axedale Tavern on May 23 between 11.45am and 1.30pm.

It too has been listed as a tier 1 site and people who attended the tavern at the specified time need to get tested and isolate for 14 days from exposure. 

Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley told reporters on Wednesday the department had identified there were 301 primary close contacts of the positive cases in the current outbreak.

So far 80 have tested negative. 

NSW's Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said there were close contacts identified in Sydney and warned residents in the state to be alert to the situation in Victoria and check exposure sites.

Two so far have tested negative. 

"We are dealing with an evolving situation," she told reporters.

Dr Chant added a number of others had visited the Highpoint Shopping Centre in Melbourne which has been listed as an exposure site. 

Case went to Somewhere on Chapel St, visited Three Monkeys and The Circus

Mr Foley said three venues have been named as tier 1 exposure sites with a case believed to have attended the venues on Saturday night and early Saturday morning. 

People who visited Three Monkeys on Chapel Street in Prahran between 9.10pm and 11pm, and the Somewhere Bar on Chapel Street between 10.30pm and 1am are on alert. 

It is believed the case returned to the Three Monkeys bar between 12.30am and 2am. 

The Circus Bar on Commercial Road in South Yarra has also been listed as an exposure site, with the case attending the venue between 1.30am and 4.15am. 

People who visited the venues at the specified times must get tested immediately and isolate for 14 days from exposure. 

Mr Foley said some of the exposure times had overlapped because the public health team built a buffer to allow for error around the times the positive case reported they were at the venue. 

"Our teams have been working through the night to get this individual's movements right across these locations, and the ensure that there were not any others," Mr Foley said. 

Those unsure of venues listed as exposure sites should visit the Department of Health for more information.

Next 24 hours 'critical' for Victoria

Acting Victorian Premier James Merlino told reporters on Wednesday he would not rule out introducing further restrictions and the next 24 hours would be "critical".

It comes after a number of restrictions came into effect from 6pm Tuesday for greater Melbourne. 

Private gatherings in greater Melbourne are limited to five people while public gatherings are limited to 30.

Pedestrians cross Flinders Street towards Flinders Street in Melbourne.
Victoria announced six new coronavirus cases on Wednesday. Source: Getty

Face masks also need to be worn indoors unless an exemption applies.

Mr Merlino said a mask was required for everybody aged 12 and over.

Schools and workplaces remain open and Victorians who live in greater Melbourne can still travel to regional Victoria. However, they will still have to follow rules as if they were in greater Melbourne.

"I cannot rule out taking some further action, but we will update people as soon as we know," Mr Merlino said.

"It is fair to say that the next 24 hours will be particularly critical if we're going to have to make any further changes beyond the changes that were announced yesterday."

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton also said the current restrictions would be under review today. 

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and download the Yahoo News app from the App Store or Google Play.