Victoria has recorded eight locally acquired COVID-19 cases as health authorities race to get on top of the movements of a trio of furniture removalists who made their way across the state.
Health authorities confirmed just a single case up until midnight on Tuesday but another seven cases have since emerged after that deadline.
The first case was a primary close contact and was in isolation, while the new cases stemmed from the removalists and a Hume family who had returned from NSW.
The ABC reported that among the seven new community cases was a man in his 30s who visited a Coles supermarket in Craigieburn.
Four of the new cases are residents on the third floor of the Ariele Apartments in Maribyrnong, which has been in lockdown since Monday evening.
Among them is a man in his 60s who subsequently infected his parents, who are aged in their 80s and live in Craigieburn.
The man attended an AFL match between Carlton and Geelong on Saturday and was seated in level two of the MCC section of the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Up to 2000 people have been contacted.
He also visited Highpoint shopping centre.
COVID-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar says the next two days of this outbreak are critical, urging anyone who has visited an exposure site or has symptoms to get tested.
“We are right on the heels of this particular outbreak,” he says.
The cases come as 33,000 people were tested and 14,989 doses of vaccine were administered at state-run sites during the past 24 hours.
There is also one case of a returned traveller from overseas in hotel quarantine.
Earlier, CCTV helped identify two exposure sites, the Caltex Kalkallo and Hungry Jack’s Kalkallo, both on the Hume Highway, which were added as ‘Tier 1″ sites overnight.
Anyone who visited the venues, including the petrol pumps and toilets, between 9.07am and 10.06am on Thursday are required to immediately get tested and isolate for 14 days.
It’s not yet known if the exposure sites are linked to a Victorian who drove home from NSW on Thursday, or the three removalists who travelled from Sydney through Victoria to SA last week.
Three members of the Victorian’s family, who live in the local government area of Hume, have tested positive for COVID-19.
The family had red zone permits to return to Victoria, meaning they have been required to self-isolate at home since their arrival.
One family member, however, visited a Coles supermarket in Craigieburn and Metro petrol station in Broadmeadows, the latter now a tier-one exposure site.
The removalists made a drop-off at a family home in Craigieburn and a pick-up at the Ariele Apartments in Maribyrnong on Thursday.
Up to 200 people at the apartment complex are also required to self-isolate for 14 days.
The removalists then visited the McDonald’s and Mobil on the Western Freeway at Ballan, with one taking a shower at the petrol station. Both sites have been listed as tier-one exposure sites from 5pm to 7pm on Thursday July 8.
It is believed the men slept in their truck before driving to Adelaide on Friday morning July 9.
Economic support package
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a new federal support package following the COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney that has infected almost 700 people and claimed the lives of two.
The package will be jointly funded by the Commonwealth and NSW and offered to other states and territories if they have to impose extended lockdowns.
It was not received warmly by the Victorian government, which only received federal support during its fourth lockdown after repeated requests.
The state’s Industry Support and Recovery Minister Martin Pakula said on Wednesday the federal government’s treatment of Victoria and NSW has been “unequal”.
“We’ve spent a year hearing about gold standard and now it’s gone from gold standard to gold-plated support,” he said.
“Victoria was offered a 50-50 split and decided to reject it. Now we’ve put in place a system with NSW that can be extended and expanded to other states should they incur a lengthy lockdown,” he said.