Another protester who attended Melbourne’s wild demonstrations against mandatory coronavirus vaccinations for construction workers has tested positive to the virus, spurring fears the violent rallies may have been a ‘super-spreader’ event.
Victoria’s Covid-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar confirmed the second case on Sunday, after it was revealed a person at Wednesday’s protest at the Shrine of Remembrance had to be hospitalised with the respiratory illness.
The latest case is a man in his 30s from Geelong who ‘would have been at that protest during his infectious period’.
While Covid transmission is far less likely outdoors the chances of contagion dramatically increase when a person is exposed in close proximity without masks for an extended period of time.
‘If you’re going to hang around in a crowd of 500 people, then if there are Covid-positive people there … then this is where you’re going to see some spread,’ Mr Weimar said.
Another protester who attended Melbourne’s wild demonstrations against mandatory coronavirus vaccinations for construction workers has tested positive to the virus. Pictured: Wednesday’s rally at the Shrine of Remembrance
Victoria’s Covid-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar confirmed the second case on Sunday with the first now being treated in hospital. Pictured: Protests on the West Gate Bridge in Melbourne
A ‘small number’ of Police officers who came into contact with the hospitalised protester have also been forced into isolation as a result.
While the chaotic scenes of last week have subsided, anti-vaxxers are finding new ways to cause havoc across Melbourne as Victoria recorded 779 new cases on Sunday – a new pandemic high.
With up to five fully vaccinated Melburnians now permitted to have a picnic outdoors, a small group of unvaccinated illegally gathered at various locations across the city for low-key ‘park picnic protests’.
More alarmingly, conspiracy theorists have been making fake jab appointments and not turning up in an effort to disrupt the state’s vaccine rollout.
Premier Daniel Andrews said he had been made aware of these reports on Sunday and the impact it’s having on GPs.
‘You might have a view, but don’t stand in the way of other people expressing their view,’ he said.
‘If you’re pretending to take an appointment, that means someone who wants to turn up and get vaccinated so that they can save their life and the lives of others, can’t get an appointment.
‘That just doesn’t make any sense. that’s the wrong thing to do.’
Conspiracy theorists have been making fake jab appointments and not turning up in an effort to disrupt the state’s vaccine rollout. Pictured: People queue at a Covid-19 vaccination centre in Melbourne
Premier Daniel Andrews said he had been made aware of the fake jab appointments and the impact it’s having on GPs. Pictured: People queue up inside the Royal Exhibition Building Covid-19 Vaccination Hub in Melbourne
Furious construction workers gathered at the head office of the CFMEU on Monday demonstrating against forced Covid jabs on job sites.
The mob smashed up the front of their own union’s building and hurled projectiles at bosses trying to calm the crowd.
About 2000 hi-vis wearing protesters then marched aimlessly across the CBD for hours on Tuesday, clashing with police and even walking across the West Gate Bridge where they launched themselves onto cars terrifying motorists.
Disgraceful scenes also played out on Wednesday when hundreds gathered at Melbourne’s war memorial bringing condemnation from veterans groups and large sections of the public.
A small group of unvaccinated illegally gathered at various locations across the city for low-key ‘park picnic protests’ hiding amongst those who’ve had the jab. Pictured: Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens on September 19
Up to five fully vaccinated people are now permitted to have a picnic outdoors in Melbourne. Pictured: Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens
After a tense hours-long stand-off, riot cops moved in on the group throwing bottles and projectiles and dispersed the crowd with rubber bullets, pepper bombs and stinger grenades, as over 200 were arrested.
Union bosses and security analysts said the construction industry protests was largely ‘infiltrated’ by far-right groups and anti-vaxx conspiracy theorists.
Another anti-lockdown protest was set to go ahead on Saturday but a massive police presence saw the demonstration flop.
Hundreds of officers arrested a dozen of demonstrators at the St Kilda foreshore in a rally that peaked at about 200 people.
Police arrested dozens of anti-lockdown protesters who gathered at St Kilda in Melbourne on Saturday
Protesters gathered in the inner beachside suburb chanting slogans like ‘together, united, we’ll never be divided’ and ‘we are not afraid’
Defiant anti-lockdown participants later conceded defeat due to the heavy police presence at the St Kilda foreshore
Demonstrators gathered in the inner beachside suburb chanting slogans like ‘together, united, we’ll never be divided’ and ‘we are not afraid’.
Other participants in the crowd were heard shouting ‘f*** Dan Andrews’ from megaphones.
The rallies have been organised on encrypted apps like Telegram with organisers on Sunday telling protesters to ‘regroup at your local park’ for picnic protests, the Herald Sun reported.
‘The people have decided a rest day is in order to regroup and strategise for a more successful week of protests ahead,’ a message on the app read.
Protesters were told to a white cloth or bracelet on their wrist, to signify their solidarity to the conspiracy theory movement.
‘But if cops are circling, remove it or cover it,’ the post said.
Victoria’s construction industry shut down – explained
The shutdown was announced late on Monday following violent protests outside the CFMEU’s head office in Melbourne’s CBD over a vaccine mandate for the industry.
It applies to work sites across Melbourne, Ballarat, Geelong, Mitchell Shire and the Surf Coast.
Industrial Relations Minister Tim Pallas said the shutdown was required to cut down movement, reduce COVID-19 transmission and give the industry time to adapt to the new requirements.
‘We put the industry on notice just a week ago, we have seen appalling behaviour on-site and on our streets, and now we’re acting decisively and without hesitation,’ he said in a statement.
An amnesty was in place on Monday so that a limited number of workers can attend construction sites to shut them down safely.
The government said all sites will need to demonstrate compliance with the chief health officer’s directions prior to reopening, including the requirement for workers to show evidence of having had one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine before they return to work on October 5.
The Property Council of Australia said the shutdown would cost the economy $1.1 billion a week.
‘The majority of construction sites and construction workers are doing everything required of them to meet the highest standards of COVID safety and have done so since the pandemic started,’ executive director Danni Hunter said in a statement.
‘Closing the industry will prevent them going to work and getting paid and it will stall projects causing immensely costly delays, putting projects and Victorian jobs at risk.’
Opposition industry spokeswoman Bridget Vallence said the Andrews government must immediately reverse its ‘panicked decision’.
‘The Liberal Nationals condemn the violent protests, but the actions of a few should not be used as an excuse to shut down an entire industry, putting tens of thousands of people out of work,’ she said in a statement.
Union officials say Monday’s protesters were not all CFMEU members and blamed ‘neo-Nazi’s and right-wing extremists’ for hijacking the event.
The protest escalated when two union officials, including Victorian construction branch secretary John Sekta, came outside the Elizabeth Street office to speak to protesters just before midday.
Mr Setka was met with boos and insults from the crowd, while some protesters hurled bottles.
Violence escalated even further on Tuesday, with 2,000 protesters storming the West Gate Bridge, bringing traffic to a standstill and evening attacking cars
Organisers have vowed to host protests ‘every day’ until the mandatory vaccine mandate for tradies is dropped
Construction sites have been a place of high spread in the latest outbreak, forcing health officials to close tearooms last week.
The state’s roadmap out of lockdown was released on Sunday, detailing small changes to restrictions when 80 per cent of Victorians aged over 16 have received a single vaccine dose.
Melbourne’s lockdown will remain in place until 70 per cent of Victorians are double-vaccinated, which is forecast for October 26.