News Victoria records one new case of COVID as Sydney on edge as list of exposure sites grows

Victoria records one new case of COVID as Sydney on edge as list of exposure sites grows

victoria mask virus
The new normal. Masks remain mandatory on public transport and inside. Photo: Getty
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Victoria had one new local COVID case on Monday, as Acting Premier James Merlino called on the Commonwealth to urgently increase the state’s Pfizer dose supply for the next two months.

Monday’s new case is a resident of the Southbank townhouse complex that was put into isolation last week as an outbreak grew.

The person has been in quarantine throughout their infectious period.

Victoria authorities tested 16,290 people in the 24 hours to midnight on Sunday, down from a high of about 57,000 tests conducted when the so-called Whittlesea cluster forced Victoria into a two-week lockdown on June 3.

It’s the fifth consecutive day the state has had one or zero local cases.

Mr Merlino confirmed the state remained on track to further ease virus measures later this week.

But ahead of Monday’s emergency national cabinet meeting to discuss the struggling national vaccine program, Mr Merlino said he was concerned there was not a sufficient “sense of urgency” around the rollout.

“When you compare how Australia is going with the rest of the world, we are falling so far behind it’s not funny,” he said.

Mr Merlino said he welcomed the recent appointment of Lieutenant General John Frewen to the COVID-19 rollout.

“God knows we need someone to sort out the mess in Canberra,” he said.

But he remained concerned Victoria’s projected supplies of Pfizer would be reduced in coming weeks.

“What we’ve seen out of this very high-level plan are fewer doses for Victorians for weeks in July and August, before a mad rush at the end of the year,” he said.

Last week, federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said Victoria’s Pfizer supply was boosted to 105,000 doses a week during its recent lockdown. The baseline weekly supply, which the state will return to at the end of June, is about 83,000.

Sydney remains on edge as the Bondi cluster grows

Masks have become mandatory indoors in seven local council areas in Sydney as the eastern suburbs COVID cluster rose to nine cases.

Anyone shopping, working in hospitality or indoors must wear a mask unless eating or drinking if they live in the local government areas of Randwick, Bayside, Botany Bay, Inner West, City of Sydney, Waverley and Woollahra.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said on Sunday the government would also extend compulsory mask-wearing on public transport in greater Sydney until Thursday and expand the order to Wollongong and Shellharbour local government areas.

Late on Sunday, NSW Health released a list of 27 new exposure sites including a North Face outlet in Drummoyne. More casual sites are in Drummoyne along with others at Castle Hill, Merrylands, central Sydney and Hurstville.

  • See an updated list of NSW exposure sites here

Greater Sydney and Blue Mountains residents have been told to avoid non-essential visits to aged care and disability facilities. Visitors are limited to two a day, and must wear masks.

Ms Berejiklian was also expected to appeal for more Pfizer vaccine doses for her state at Monday’s national cabinet meeting.

“The current outbreak we’re experiencing demonstrates the risk is always there, the threats are always there, no matter how good your systems are,” she told Sydney radio 2GB on Monday.

“Other states have received a top-up, and I just want to make sure we get our fair share, especially given the vast majority of Aussies coming back home are coming through Sydney Airport.”

Health authorities have urged NSW residents to get tested with even slight symptoms. Ms Berejiklian said it was a critical period for the state.

“The next few days are critical. We ask people not to be complacent. If cases continue to emerge we will need to go further. We are nowhere near having vaccinated the majority of our population yet,” she said on Sunday.

The latest outbreak was sparked last week when an unvaccinated limousine driver, who transported overseas aircrew to and from the airport, tested positive to the highly transmissible Delta variant after visiting multiple venues, including the popular Bondi Junction shopping centre.

-with AAP