No new cases have been linked to a quarantine hotel cluster in Melbourne overnight, as Victorian authorities set up a new drive-through testing site north-west of Melbourne.
Victoria’s Department of Health confirmed two infections on Thursday – both were reported to authorities in the 24 hours to midnight Wednesday.
Those cases, which were announced on Wednesday afternoon, are a worker at the Holiday Inn Melbourne airport, and an international traveller who completed hotel quarantine there.
Eight cases have been linked to the cluster so far: The latest two cases, a family of three that stayed in the hotel, and two other hotel workers and another returned traveller.
One of the family members is in intensive care in a Victorian hospital.
That person, who has an underlying health condition, uses a nebuliser –a device that vaporises medications or liquids into a fine mist. Authorities believe might be to blame for the outbreak.
Anyone who visited a shopping centre in Sunbury, north-west of Melbourne, has been urged to get tested as the coronavirus outbreak continues to grow.
The state Department of Health issued an alert late on Wednesday asking anyone who visited the Sunbury Square Shopping Centre on February 5 between 3.40-4.30pm to get tested and isolate until they receive a negative result.
It described the move as a “precautionary approach” after one of the infected quarantine workers while infectious with COVID-19.
- See a full list of exposure sites here
The advice contrasts with that of other exposure sites, where people who attended must get tested and isolate for 14 days regardless of the result.
Anyone who visited the Sunbury shopping centre outside the timeframe is not considered to be at risk but should monitor for symptoms and get tested if they develop.
Two banks at Glen Waverley, in Melbourne’s south-east, have been added to the list of potential exposure sites, which are spread across the city.
The outbreak has forced the hotel’s closure until further notice, while plans to increase the state’s weekly cap on international arrivals from 1120 to 1310 from next week have been put on hold.
More than 135 hotel staff have been stood down and told to get tested and isolate at home for 14 days, while 48 guests were moved to the Pullman Melbourne to quarantine for at least another three days.
Chief health officer Brett Sutton said it was possible everyone on that hotel floor had been exposed to the virus through the air and warned more cases would likely be unearthed.
There have been seven cases of COVID-19 transmission across three Victorian quarantine hotels within a week, with three confirmed to be the more infectious British strain.
Australian Medical Association president Omar Khorshid said the British strain had “blown open cracks” in hotel quarantine infection controls,