A second McDonald’s in Melbourne’s northern suburbs has been forced to shut after a worker tested positive to the coronavirus.
The employee at the Craigieburn outlet is reportedly an extended relative an infected worker from the takeaway chain’s Fawkner store.
The virus cluster at the Fawker McDonald’s had grown to 10 by Friday morning.
Victoria’s Department of Health confirmed the infection in the Craigieburn employee late on Friday afternoon.
“Out of an abundance of caution we have immediately closed the restaurant,” McDonald’s said in a statement.
“All Craigieburn employees have been instructed not to return to work for 14 days and advised to be tested.”
McDonald’s said the Craigieburn staff member had not worked at the Fawkner site.
Earlier, Victoria reported 21 new COVID-19 infections on Friday – including two from the Fawkner McDonald’s, one at the Cedar Meats’ abattoir cluster and another in a worker from a suburban Myer.
That employee worked at Myer Highpoint, in Melbourne’s west, and had been putting together online orders.
In a statement, Myer said the “health and wellbeing of our customers and team members is our absolute priority” and once aware of the case it had rolled out its COVID-19 protocols.
It has introduced enhanced hygiene and safety measures and will deep clean the store.
The Cedar Meats outbreak is the state’s biggest COVID-19 cluster – and one of the biggest in Australia – and is the subject of a WorkSafe investigation.
The meat works was shut down on April 29 but plans to partially reopen on Monday.
‘Concerning’ aged-care home infection
A Queensland aged-care home is in lockdown amid fears for nearly 300 residents and workers after one of its nurses tested positive for COVID-19.
“It is very, very concerning,” Queensland’s chief health officer Jeanette Young said on Friday.
The nurse, whose infection was confirmed late on Thursday, is thought to have been contagious since May 5, after possibly becoming infected during a trip to Brisbane.
Her case was one of two new confirmed infections in Queensland on Friday. The other was in a Queenslander who had returned home after being diagnosed earlier in Western Australia.
Dr Young said it was “very unfortunate” the nurse had worked at the North Rockhampton Nursing Centre – which has 115 residents and 180 health care staff – while unwell.
“We’re clarifying what exactly happened there,” she said.
It is Rockhampton’s first confirmed virus infection since March 30. Dr Young described it as “a case out of nowhere”.
“It’s a very important lesson for all of us across the state of Queensland,” she said.
“We don’t know where the next case will happen. We can send in response teams, [but] we can only do that when you know about the cases.”
A rapid response team was sent from Brisbane to the aged-care home after the positive test.
State Health Minister Stephen Miles said the team would identify staff and residents who had been in contact with the infected nurse.
“This just serves to underline that even after cities have long periods of time without active cases, things can turn very, very quickly,” Dr Miles said.
A coronavirus cluster at Sydney nursing home Newmarch House has led to 71 infections and 16 deaths.
Elsewhere, Queensland will lift tough coronavirus travel restrictions to allow day trips to Fraser, Stradbroke and Moreton islands on Saturday. Camping will remain off limits.
And Queensland schools will reopen to all grades on May 25.
Students in years two to 10 will join schoolmates in kindy, prep, year one and years 11 and 12, who returned to school on May 11.
Education Minister Grace Grace said the first week had gone well.
“Our staged return to school has gone so smoothly with parents and carers heeding the advice around ‘stop, drop and go’ to ensure the health, wellbeing and safety of all,” Ms Grace said.
Premier’s ominous warning
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian says the state’s case numbers of COVID-19 will inevitably rise in coming weeks as restrictions on gatherings and pubs, clubs, cafes, restaurants and places of worship are eased.
She said a major uptick in COVID-19 cases was likely, but would be no cause for concern unless case numbers grew exponentially.
NSW had eight new cases of COVID-19 from 12,200 tests in the 24 hours to 8pm on Thursday, taking the state’s total to 3071 with seven people in intensive care.
“I won’t be standing here in the next few weeks talking about eight, nine or 10 [cases]. I don’t know what I’ll be saying, but it certainly won’t be a handful,” Ms Berejiklian said on Friday.
“That’s OK, so long as we ensure the vulnerable are protected, so long as we ensure people can get the healthcare they need, which we will – we’ve nearly tripled our intensive care capacity.”
She acknowledged the lifting of restrictions in several countries – including South Korea and Singapore – had failed and caused major virus outbreaks.
One of Friday’s new cases was a man who developed symptoms after taking a Qantas flight from Brisbane to Sydney on May 12.
He had done 14 days of hotel quarantine in Brisbane after returning from overseas.
“The way we move forward now is up to us,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“[Social distancing] will be part of our lives until there is a vaccine or cure, we just have to accept that. But we can appreciate our time staying at home in the main has made us all appreciate what matters most, and this newfound freedom I know we’ll treat respectfully.”