Melbourne lockdown 'on track' to end as 'source' of virus variant found

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·News Reporter
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Melbourne's two-week lockdown is "on track" to be eased as health authorities reveal they've identified the source of the highly-infectious Delta variant cluster.

Victoria recorded two local cases on Tuesday however Acting Premier James Merlino said the additional community cases did not change current plans.

"We remain on track to later in this week announce, as we have said we have planned to do all along, further easing of restriction in regional Victoria and careful easing of restrictions in Melbourne," he told reporters.

Acting Premier James Merlino said the easing of restrictions at midnight Thursday was
Acting Premier James Merlino said the easing of restrictions at midnight Thursday was "on track". Source: AAP

"Nothing about today changes our plans."

Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said it was promising the majority of recent cases were people known to health authorities.

Source of Delta variant finally found

Mr Merlino said the genomic sequencing has finally matched the Delta variant cluster to a case in hotel quarantine, however how the family at the centre of the cluster contracted the virus is still unknown. 

"There's currently no definitive understanding of where a transmission of events may have occurred but we are investigating all possibilities from the plane, to travel, to the hotel."

Professor Cheng said the case arrived on May 8, meaning the variant had not been in the community before then.

"We now have a source we can start from," he said.

Acting Police and Emergency Services Minister Danny Pearson said all 24 flight passengers on the man's return flight and a Skybus crew had returned negative tests.

Hotel staff as well as people staying on the same floor as the man have also tested negative.

The state's COVID-19 commander Jeroen Weimar said a string of new exposure sites added to the list of more than 300 on Monday evening were linked to the new cases.

A positive case briefly visited the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre mass vaccination hub on Tuesday before being turned away and directed to return to isolation, he said.

It is now a "tier three" exposure site.

Some 22,814 Victorians were tested on Monday and 21,192 received a vaccine dose at state-run sites.

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