Victoria has reported six new locally acquired coronavirus cases as the state is plunged into its first day of a snap lockdown.
The state was thrust into the five-day lockdown when the Delta variant emerged in Melbourne after people infected with the virus travelled there from Sydney.
Victoria reported a total of 10 cases on Friday, however four were announced on Thursday.
Two of those were linked to two previous cases connected to the MCG.
A positive case also attended the international rugby clash between the Wallabies and France at AAMI Park on Tuesday night, with stadium management working with health officials to identify close contacts.
All the cases are linked to known outbreaks and bring the total number of active cases in the state to 36.
Some 33,129 tests were processed and 17,188 Victorians were vaccinated at the state-run hubs during the same period.
More than six million Victorians are living under stay-at-home orders for the fifth time since the start of the pandemic, due to a growing outbreak of the COVID-19 Delta variant.
The rules applied during last month's lockdown have been reimposed, including a 5km travel limit for exercise and shopping and compulsory mask-wearing indoors and outdoors.
"We've got no choice. We don't want this getting away from us and being locked down for months," Premier Daniel Andrews said on Thursday.
Hundreds of hospital staff stood down
As the new cases emerged on Friday, ne of the state's largest hospitals was forced to stand down 200 staff after potential exposure.
The Royal Melbourne Hospital has furloughed 200 staff after they were potentially exposed to a close contact of a COVID-19 case.
The hospital is still operating on reduced staff and has postponed elective surgery, but can't yet say how many operations will have to be put off.
"It's been an incredibly fluid situation over the last 18 hours," Royal Melbourne Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr Cate Kelly told 3AW radio on Friday morning.
The staff have been told to isolate for 48 hours to enable contact tracing efforts.
There are currently no COVID-19 patients in the hospital.
Protesters swarm Melbourne ahead of lockdown
Many chanted “sack Andrews” as they carried signs which read “lockdowns kill”, “freedom” and “a real pandemic needs no advertisement”, as well as anti vaccine messages.
— Estelle Griepink (@EstelleGriepink) July 15, 2021
A flare was lit as they marched to parliament. Police confirmed no arrests were made.
Despite calls for them to stay home and stop the spread of Covid-19, on Facebook the protesters argued “enough is enough”.
“No more lockdowns,” one man wrote.
“Time to rise up and say no more. We’ve had enough.”
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