A Nando’s chicken restaurant, a Woolworths, and an indoor sports centre are among places where coronavirus could have spread in Melbourne’s north, authorities say.
Highpoint Shopping Centre and a swim school had already been identified as tier one exposure sites.
Late Monday, the Victorian government released more details of where the people who have tested positive – family members across three different households – had been to while unknowingly ill.
Anyone who shopped at Woolworths in Epping North or dined at Nando’s Epping, at the same time as the infected four must now get tested and isolate for 14 days even if the test is negative.
Authorities are yet to reveal further details of which shops the infected people might have been in while at Highpoint, a busy shopping centre in Maribyrnong, in Melbourne’s north-west.
- Read the full list of exposure sites here
The source of the Whittlesea family’s infection remains a mystery.
Contact tracers are trying to work out whether there is any link between the family and places visited by a Wollert man who contracted coronavirus in South Australian hotel quarantine.
Last week, the health department admitted it had listed the wrong supermarket as an exposure site during the outbreak earlier in May.
People had been warned of potential exposure at Woolworths in Epping a fortnight ago, but the department then said on Friday that the man had shopped at Woolworths in Epping North, three kilometres away.
Anyone who was at Woolworths Epping North on Saturday, May 8, from 5.40-6.38pm should get tested and isolate until they receive a negative result.
“We do not rule out the prospect that there is a link,” Health Minister Martin Foley said on Monday.
“The dates do not line up immediately so we cannot rule out if there is a missing link out there.”
Genomic sequencing is expected to establish if there is a link between the pair. It is expected back as early as Tuesday.
Either way, Victorians should prepare for further cases to emerge.
Victoria’s chief health officer Brett Sutton said the first Whittlesea man was carrying a high viral load.
“He is likely to be quite infectious,” Professor Sutton said.
“We have to ready ourselves for any other positives, and when there are close contacts who do become positive, that raises the possibility that even a casual contact could become positive as well.”
The four cases have snapped Victoria’s 86-day streak without a locally acquired case.
States on alert for infected travellers
There have been no changes to restrictions in Victoria, but leaders in other states have already moved to tighten their border rules.
Travellers to Sydney from greater Melbourne will be required to confirm on arrival that they have been to a COVID-19 exposure site.
NSW Health said on Monday that arrivals from greater Melbourne would be required to complete a declaration form confirming they had not visited an exposure site.
Those in NSW who have been in Victoria since May 10 and been to one of the sites should contact authorities immediately, NSW Health said.
Anyone in NSW who has been in the Whittlesea local government area in Melbourne’s outer-north – which includes the suburbs of Donnybrook, Epping, Lalor, Thomastown and Whittlesea – should also avoid aged care homes.
South Australia has also imposed fresh travel restrictions.
Travellers who had been at exposure sites will be barred from entering SA.
Anyone who recently visited those sites and who is already in SA must self-isolate for 14 days and also get tested three times.
Less severe measures have been imposed for anyone who visited the City of Whittlesea, with arrivals to SA required to have a COVID test within 24 hours and isolate until they receive a negative result.