New Covid-19 cluster emerges in Victoria amid plea for vaccines

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Victoria's health minister says a lack of supply is continuing to hold back the vaccination program, as the state deals with a fresh Covid cluster in Port Melbourne and a growing outbreak in the Goulburn Valley.

"While we continue to see increasing levels of supply forecast in the coming weeks and months, what we really need is the supply to meet demand now," Martin Foley told reporters on Saturday.

He said he wants the Commonwealth to pay for GP clinics to be open later and on weekends.

The health department has been trialling handing out extra jab supplies to a handful of Melbourne clinics, which Mr Foley said has shown clinics have the capacity to deliver more vaccines.

"We are demonstrating, because someone has to, that the GPs can do more," he said.

A health care worker speaks to people waiting in line at a Covid-19 vaccination centre in Melbourne on Thursday. Source: AAP
Victoria's health minister said a lack of supply is holding back the state's vaccination program. Source: AAP

Victoria Covid: New cluster emerges

The news comes as contact tracers deal with a new cluster in Port Melbourne, which Covid response commander Jeroen Weimar said is "of some concern".

There are four fresh cases in the area, with exposure sites at a Fisherman's Bend supermarket and a carwash and auto warehouse.

"We've not seen that crop up before, so we are very keen to make sure that doesn't become anything else," Mr Weimar said.

He warned of growing case numbers in Melbourne's northern and western suburbs, but said there was also evidence of undetected cases in bayside areas in the south east.

There are a total of 41 mystery cases under investigation by contact tracers.

Victorian COVID-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar addresses the media during a press conference in Melbourne. Source: AAP
Covid response commander Jeroen Weimar said the new cluster is "of some concern". Source: AAP

Shepparton outbreak grows to 85 cases

Meanwhile, an outbreak in Shepparton in the Goulburn Valley region has grown to 85 cases, with more than 1600 welfare and compliance checks conducted in and around the town on Friday.

The outbreak has spread to Echuca, after an aged care worker at the Wharparilla Lodge was infected by her partner.

Most of the 88 residents at the home have had both doses of the Covid jab.

About 40 staff have been furloughed, while the aged care worker, who was fully vaccinated, has since returned a negative test.

Victoria has added 64 new infections to its caseload on Saturday, 28 of them involving community exposure.

Health authorities say 49 of the cases are linked to current outbreaks and 36 were in quarantine throughout their infectious period.

The state now has more than 700 active cases with 42 of those in hospital.

Another 372 staff at the Royal Melbourne Hospital remain on furlough due to the outbreak there, but no new cases linked to the cluster have been found.

Victoria managed to administer 35,753 vaccine doses in the 24 hours to Friday evening and conducted 55,333 tests for the virus during the same period.

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