The state’s health agency reported four new locally acquired cases of Covid-19 in the previous 24 hours.
Acting Premier James Merlino said the four new cases were all linked to this week’s outbreak in Melbourne’s north, which has grown to 30 cases.
Merlino has asked the Commonwealth for 160 Australian Defence Force staff to help with door-to-door visits as health officials monitor close contacts and cases.
Victoria Covid-19 testing commander Jeroen Weimar said authorities were particularly concerned about the potential spread of the virus at five exposure sites:
- The Sporting Globe at 590 Main Street, Mordialloc between 6.15pm and 9.45pm on Sunday, 23 May
- Three Monkeys Bar at 210 Chapel Street, Prahran between 9.10pm and 11pm on Saturday, 22 May
- Somewhere Bar at 181 Chapel Street, Prahran between 10.30pm and 1am on Saturday, 22 May
- The Palace Hotel, 505-507 City Road, South Melbourne between 5.45 and 6.45pm on Friday, 21 May
- The Local on Bay Street in Port Melbourne between 1.30pm and 3.30pm on Friday, 21 May
Weimar said authorities had already confirmed one case contracted the virus at the Sporting Globe in Mordialloc on 23 May.
“We believe they caught the infection then, they were confirmed positive in yesterday’s numbers,” Weimar said.
“We now see the significant risk in particular at those social venues, the bars and clubs.”
There were 47,462 test results received, breaking the previous record of 42,000.
There were 17,223 vaccine doses administered through state-run sites – also a record for the state and up on 12,677 on Wednesday and 15,858 on Tuesday.
There are now more than 15,000 primary and secondary contacts who have been asked to isolate.
Of those, 1452 people have been identified as primary close contacts associated with the City of Whittlesea outbreak, and the Port Melbourne outbreak.
Weimar stated that there had been “literally hundreds” of negative test results from those intimate relationships, including 100 persons from the Port Melbourne firm Stratton Finance.
In New Zealand, 5000 persons who had come from Victoria since the epidemic began were advised to self-isolate until they could be tested and given a negative result.
About 500 people were unable to be reached through email and are being contacted by phone calls and texts.
According to the New Zealand Ministry of Health, the form of Covid-19 discovered in Melbourne is the B.1.617.1 variation, which was initially detected in India and is regarded more contagious than the original variety.
Sutton warns ‘it’s not over yet’
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said it was too early to draw any conclusions from today’s case numbers.
“We have to see how the days ahead play out,” he said.
“You really never know what to expect. Four [cases] is better than 10.
“It is not over yet. We can get 10 tomorrow, 20 tomorrow.
“We absolutely have to recognise that there are thousands and thousands of close contacts still to go through the incubation period, who could become symptomatic.”
At midnight, Victoria went into a seven-day “circuit-breaker” lockdown.
Students of public health have been invited to help the state’s contact tracing efforts.
The University of Melbourne’s School of Population and Global Health requested expressions of interest from people with medical, nursing, and allied health experience to help the state’s outbreak-fighting efforts in an email to students.
“We are in the midst of a B.1.617 Covid-19 (strain originally from India) outbreak with a doubling time of 48 hours,” the email said.
It explained that the head of the North Eastern Public Health Unit had made “an urgent call out for medical, nursing and allied health students to help with contact tracing”.