An urgent warning has been issued for 14 exposure sites across Melbourne after a hotel quarantine worker tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday.
The infected Australian Open quarantine program staff member had visited popular shops including Kmart, Bunnings, Coles, Woolworths and a busy kebab shop.
Anyone who visited the effected sites, during the specified times from January 29 to February 1, must self-isolate and get tested immediately.
The Bunnings Warehouse at Springvale (pictured) has been listed as an exposure site for the time of 11:28am to 12:15pm on February 1
The Coles supermarket at Springvale (pictured) has been listed as an exposure site for the time between 5pm to 6pm on January 31
Melbourne’s Tier 1 exposure sites:
Brighton: North Point Cafe – 08:10-09:30 – 31/1/2021 – Case dined outside and used bathroom
Brandon Park: Kmart: 16:35-17:10 – 31/1/2021 – Case attended venue
Clayton South: Nakama Workshop – 11:15-12:00 – 1/2/2021 – Case attended venue
Heatherton: Melbourne Golf Academy – 17:19-18:35 – 1/2/2021 – Case attended venue
Keysborough: Aces Sporting Club (Driving Range) – 22:00-23:15 – 30/1/2021 Case attended venue
Keysborough: Kmart, Parkmore Keysborough Shopping Centre – 16:00-17:00 – 31/1/2021 – Case attended venue
Melbourne: Exford Hotel – 23:00-23:35 – 29/1/2021 – Case attended bottle shop
Moorabbin Airport: Lululemon, DFO Moorabbin – 17:00-17:45 – 1/2/2021 – Case attended venue
Noble Park: Club Noble – 14:36-15:30 – 30/01/2021 – Case attended venue
Springvale: Bunnings – 11:30-12:15 – 1/2/2021 – Case attended venue
Springvale: Coles – 17:00-18:00 – 31/1/2021 – Case attended venue
Springvale: Sharetea – 18:50-19:30 – 1/2/2021 – Case attended venue
Springvale: Woolworths – 18:30-19:30 – 1/2/2021 – Case attended venue
West Melbourne: Kebab Kingz – 23:24-00:15 – 29/1/2021 – Case dined outside
The shock positive test has snapped Victoria’s 28-day run of zero cases of community transmission.
There are now fears the 26-year-old, who last worked at the Grand Hyatt hotel on January 29 as a resident support officer for the Australian Open quarantine program, could have infected others – including hundreds of tennis and staff players preparing for the Grand Slam next week.
The worker is expected to have contracted the ultra-infectious UK mutant strain, and has a ‘high viral load’ – meaning any close contact may have received a high enough dose to become infected.
Premier Daniel Andrews on Wednesday night announced tighter restrictions for the state which spent 111 days in lockdown last year.
Under the new rules the limit on public gathering with half to 15 people (excluding children under 12), maks will become mandatory in public indoors spaces (excluding when eating) and the 75 per cent return to work cap will drop to 50 per cent.
The changes came into effect at 11:59pm on Wednesday night.
‘This is one case. There is no need for people to panic, there is no need for people to be alarmed,’ Mr Andrews said.
‘(But) we have to assume that this person has in fact infected others. And it’s through that abundance of caution that I’m announcing the restrictions.’
There are now serious doubts about whether the Australian Open can proceed as scheduled on February 8.
The multi-million dollar event has been plunged into chaos with players and staff forced into lockdown – most for a second time.
A testing blitz is now underway with 600 tennis stars, officials and support staff identified as close contacts of the 26-year-old, who worked at the Grand Hyatt hotel.
The Grand Hyatt is one of three hotels used to quarantine tennis stars and staff, as well as the Pullman Albert Park and the View on St Kilda Road.
World number one Novak Djokovic is among the Australian Open players who have been criticised for complaining about having to quarantine in hotels. Djokovic is among several players with better facilities, such as rooms with balconies. Pictured: Djokovic on the balcony of his hotel room in Adelaide, Australia on Tuesday
The UK Covid-19 variant is thought to be up to 70 per cent more contagious than the initial strain of the corovavirus, and has already spread from one hotel room to another at separate Melbourne quarantine facility.
Some officials fearing even doors opening at the same time could let the mutant in.
As a result of the testing blitz and isolation orders, all Melbourne Summer Series matches at Melbourne Park on Thursday have been cancelled.
Ash Barty, Nick Kyrgios, Serena Williams, Stan Wawrinka, Victoria Azarenka and Naomi Osaka were just a few of the big name tennis stars due to play, with international stars only just free from quarantine.
The exposed players and staff, roughly half of the 1,200 flown into Australia and now released from their 14-day mandatory quarantine, can return to training after testing negative.
‘There will be no matches at Melbourne Park on Thursday. An update on the schedule for Friday will be announced later today,’ Australian Open tweeted.
Residents who have any Covid-like symptoms are urged to get tested as soon as testing clinics open from 8am on Thursday (pictured, health workers in Melbourne)
Mr Andrews said the new Covid case may have an impact on an Australian Open lead-up event on Thursday but did not foresee it would have an effect on the tournament itself.
‘There’s a number of about 500 or 600 people that are either players and officials and others who are casual contacts. They will be isolating until they get a negative test,’ Mr Andrews said.
It remains unclear how the infected worker contracted the virus, but contact tracing and genomic testing is now underway.
Mr Andrews said testing was paramount and told residents not to delay presenting to testing sites, which open from 8am.
‘If you’ve got symptoms or you’ve been at one of these sites, you’ve got to get tested. You can’t wait till tomorrow afternoon. You’ve got to go first thing tomorrow morning.’