Emergency restrictions were announced in Victoria as the state records three more cases of the coronavirus after reporting three last night.
There are now six locally acquired active cases in the state, breaking a 61-day streak without community infection after Victoria overcame her second wave of horror.
The three cases identified on Wednesday night traveled to Melbourne’s Smile Buffalo Thai in Black Rock on December 21, but sat at two separate tables.
A traveler returning from NSW also visited the restaurant the same day, linking the new outbreak to that in Sydney.
The state suffered a horrific second wave of the virus in June, plunging Melbourne into a 112-day lockdown, before eliminating it in October.
The cases are two Melbourne women in their 40s and a 70-year-old relative. Health authorities have identified 52 close contacts of these women, but this number is expected to increase.
Victoria has recorded three more cases of coronavirus after reporting three last night – the outbreak being linked to a Thai restaurant in Black Rock
Victorian police are seen patrolling checkpoints in Mallacoota after new border restrictions were imposed on NSW, barring residents of Wollongong and the Blue Mountains
Three of those close contacts tested positive Thursday morning.
The outbreak prompted Victoria to reintroduce compulsory mask wearing and tighten restrictions for New Years Eve with private gatherings limited to 15, from 30.
Acting Prime Minister Jactina Allan apologized to those who had planned a New Year’s party, but said the measures were necessary to stem the spread of the highly contagious virus.
Health Minister Martin Foley said he identified a direct link between the outbreak and the returning traveler from New South Wales.
“Now that we have links to the NSW outbreak here in Victoria, we are reacting really, very quickly to overcome that.
Healthcare workers are seen driving through the testing facility at the Springers Leisure Center in Cheltenham, Melbourne on Thursday, December 31
What are the New Year’s Eve restrictions?
As of 5 p.m. Thursday, Melbourne residents will only be able to receive 15 visitors to their homes, up from 30.
The 15 limit includes residents, but not children under 12.
Masks will be mandatory inside.
“This is a very serious situation that the Victorians are facing, having sacrificed so much in this year,” said Mr. Foley.
“Victorians know how extremely contagious this virus can be.
The Smile Buffalo Thai restaurant in Black Rock and the Holy Family Parish Church in Doveton have been identified as exhibition sites.
Two of the women who tested positive on Wednesday live in Mitcham and Hallam and were eating together at the Thai restaurant on December 21.
On a separate table was another person from Mitcham, whose close contact has since tested positive.
Anyone who has visited these stores should get tested immediately and self-isolate until a negative result is given.
Victoria’s COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar said extensive contact tracing was underway.
The three cases identified on Wednesday night visited Melbourne’s Smile Buffalo Thai in Black Rock (pictured) on December 21. A traveler returning from NSW also visited the restaurant the same day.
Pictured: Smile Buffalo Thai restaurant in Blackrock, Melbourne. Victoria’s first three locally acquired Covid cases are location-related
Acting Prime Minister Jactina Allan apologized to those who had planned a New Years party, but said these measures were necessary to stem the spread of the highly contagious virus (pictured, Melbourne in 2019 at New Years )
Three new cases of coronavirus were recorded in Victoria on Wednesday evening (buyers pictured in Melbourne on Boxing Day)
Acting Victoria Prime Minister Jacinta Allan addresses the media at a press conference in Melbourne on Thursday, December 31
As cases in New South Wales continue to rise – with 10 new cases announced on Thursday – Mr Foley has warned Victorians to reconsider any travel plans.
“To be really clear, don’t go to New South Wales,” he said.
“If you’re a Victorian in New South Wales, way beyond Wollongong and the Blue Mountains, come back. You don’t want to be caught on the wrong side of a rapidly changing situation.
“We are ahead of that. We have to stay ahead. If that means the public health advice is to go further on border restrictions, that’s what we’ll do.
Now tens of thousands of Boxing Day shoppers Melbourne Westfield has been ordered to self-isolate after six stores were visited by patients with coronavirus.
Six stores in the Fountain Gate Mall were visited by an infected shopper during the massive day of sales, including Kmart, Big W, Target, Millers, King of Gifts and Lacoste.
Westfield at Fountain Gate shopping center was visited by infected shoppers on Boxing Day who entered six different stores
Tens of thousands of Boxing Day shoppers in bustling Melbourne Westfield have been ordered to self-isolate after six stores were visited by coronavirus patients (pictured, women in Chadstone)
VICTORIAN PLACES ON ALERT:
Anyone in these locations can be tested immediately and self-isolate until a negative result
Black Rock: Smile Buffalo Thai Restaurant – December 21
Holy Family Parish Doveton Catholic – December 26, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Kmart, Big W, Target, Millers, King of Gifts, Lacoste à Centre commercial Fountain Gate – December 26 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Mentone Beach / Parkdale – December 27 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Century City Walk et Mocha Jo’s, Glen Waverley – December 28 from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Restaurant Katialo, Eaton Mall, Oakleigh – December 28, 7 p.m. to 8:15 p.m.
People in several other places around Melbourne are also having to self-isolate until they test negative.
Holy Family Parish Doveton Church and Parkdale Beach have also been visited by confirmed cases.
Century City Walk, Mocha Jo’s and Katialo Restaurant were also visited by infected residents.
There are seven active cases in quarantine at the hotel in Victoria and a 15-year-old girl who is isolating herself at home after testing positive upon returning from NSW.
The news comes as the state tightens border restrictions with NSW after 18 new cases were recorded on Wednesday.
Starting at 11:59 p.m. on New Years Eve, Victoria will close its borders to anyone from the Blue Mountains and Wollongong.
Anyone who has visited these areas since December 27 will be locked out.
“These new border measures were introduced in response to 18 new cases of Covid-19 reported in New South Wales, including six from a new cluster in west-central Sydney,” read a statement from state health department.
“The situation is very dynamic and the red zone may continue to change in the short term – so Victorians are strongly discouraged from traveling to NSW as you may not be able to return without quarantining the hotel for 14 days.
“Anyone intending to return to Victoria from these areas between midnight tonight and 11.59pm on December 31st must apply for a new travel permit through Service Victoria, must be tested within 24 hours of returning to Victoria and must quarantine at home for 14 hours. days after their last departure from the region.
TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS FOR NSW RESIDENTS:
- Western Australia – All NSW residents are prohibited from entering WA. Anyone entering the state will be “fired,” according to Premier Mark McGowan.
- Victoria – Anyone who lives in or has visited the Greater Sydney area and the Central Coast since December 11 is prohibited from entering Victoria.
- North territory – Anyone entering the Northern Territory from northern beaches and hot spots in Sydney will be required to undergo 14 days of supervised quarantine.
- South Australia – Border closure tougher for all NSW residents from midnight on New Years Eve. Returning South Australians to be quarantined for 14 days. A 100 km border buffer zone, comprising Broken Hill and Wentworth, will be exempted.
- Queensland – Queensland has closed its borders to Greater Sydney, Wollongong and the Central Coast. Residents returning to the Sunshine State from a hotspot must self-isolate.
- ACT – Anyone who has been in Greater Sydney, the Central Coast or Wollongong must be quarantined for 14 days at a government facility.
- Tasmania – Prohibition of residents of Northern Beaches. Everyone in Greater Sydney must also self-quarantine at the entrance.