The Victorian Department of Health has confirmed 11 new locally acquired cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of infections connected with the latest outbreak to 15.
The 11 new cases include the five reported yesterday, with the 15th case notified to VIC Health just prior to a press conference this morning from Acting Premier James Merlino. That case will be included in tomorrow's figures.
Merlino said all the confirmed cases could be connected at this point in time.
"These cases are linked and that's a good thing," said Merlino.
"But we are very concerned by the number and the kind of exposure sites."
The announcement coincides with an alert from VIC Health that a person infected with COVID-19 attended an AFL match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Sunday 23 May.
According to the Department of Health, the positive case attended the Collingwood vs Port Adelaide game at the MCG on Sunday 23 May, sitting in Zone 4, Level 1 of the Great Southern Stand.
People seated in that zone - those with a bay between M1 & M6 on their match ticket - will be contacted directly with advice to get tested and isolate until negative.
"The AFL and the MCG have prepared for this moment. There's been extensive work over a long period of time between our public health team and stadium management," Merlino said.
"We're very grateful that we had the data on hand very shortly after it came to our attention so we could contact all of those affected."
A number of venues and businesses have been added to the official public exposure sites list as the outbreak unfolds, including in regional Victoria.
The Hairfolk Salon in Bendigo is considered a Tier 2 exposure site for people who visited between 9.40am and 10.10am on Saturday, May 22.
In addition, the Axedale Tavern in Axedale, just outside of Bendigo, is a Tier 1 exposure site for people who attended the pub between 11.45am and 1.30pm on 23 May.
Inner-Melbourne exposure sites have also been added to the official list which is regularly being updated here.
The Three Monkeys Bar on Chapel Street has announced on its Instagram page that a positive COVID-19 case attended the venue on Saturday night, between 9.10 pm to 1.30am.
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Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said many of the recently listed Tier 1 sites were of concern, in particular:
- Circus Bar at 199 Commercial Road, South Yarra, between 1:30am and 4:15am on Sunday May 23
- The Three Monkeys bar at 210 Chapel Street, Prahran, between 9:10pm and 11:00pm on Saturday May 22 and 12:30am and 2:00am Sunday May 23
- Somewhere Bar at 181 Chapel Street, Prahran, between 10:30pm and 1:00am on Saturday May 22
The news comes after Victoria introduced new COVID-19 restrictions at 6pm yesterday, limiting visitors to households and requiring face masks to be worn indoors. These rules will also apply to people leaving Greater Melbourne to other parts of the state. Schools and workplaces will remain open.
There are no more changes to restrictions today, but Merlino said he would not rule out tougher rules for Victorians if the situation worsens.
"I cannot rule out taking further action," he said.
"The next 24 hours are going to be critical if we're going to make any changes beyond the changes we made yesterday."
In response to this latest outbreak, Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese criticised the Federal Government's handling of the hotel quarantine program on Twitter, and called on the PM to establish a dedicated quarantine facility in every state and territory in Australia.
His criticism comes after this latest outbreak in Victoria is believed to be connected to a COVID-19 leak from Adelaide's hotel quarantine system, whereby a man in his 30s left quarantine in South Australia but developed symptoms and ultimately tested positive to the virus while in Melbourne.
Updated at 9.33am AEST on 26 May 2021.
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