News Coronavirus More restrictions set to ease across Victoria

More restrictions set to ease across Victoria

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Melbourne has 32 new exposure sites, but restrictions are still set to ease. Photo: Getty
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Melburnians will be able to travel to regional Victoria and gyms will reopen, if a plan to ease coronavirus restrictions goes ahead.

But an announcement from the Victorian government could depend on cases in the next day and whether it emerges the virus has spread at dozens of new exposure sites listed late on Tuesday.

Authorities are also concerned about a growing COVID cluster at a Melbourne CBD townhouse complex.

Cabinet ministers will meet early on Wednesday to discuss Victoria’s path to eased restrictions.

No formal announcements have been made but media reports suggest government leaders are poised to confirm significant changes.

Regional Victorians are set to enjoy further freedoms from Friday, while Melburnians will also move to more relaxed rules, two government sources told The Age.

City rules are likely to move closer into line with regional Victoria, where there is no 25-kilometre travel limit, people can have two visitors at home, gyms are open, and masks need only to be worn indoors.

The Herald Sun reports up to 20 people could be allowed to gather outdoors, instead of 10, and restrictions on community sports may also be lifted.

It’s likely there will no longer be any restrictions on movement between regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne.

In recent weeks, the state government has announced a decision on relaxing virus rules on Wednesdays, with the changes taking effect from 11.59pm on Thursdays.

The Victoria Gardens Shopping Centre in Richmond is a new exposure site. Photo: Google Maps

Authorities still on alert

On Tuesday night, the state Department of Health listed 32 new exposure sites across Melbourne.

It included a dozen venues in South Melbourne, six in the CBD, five in Southbank, four in Port Melbourne and four in Richmond.

Among them were Bunnings, Officeworks, Woolworths and Kmart outlets, as well as the entire Victoria Gardens Shopping Centre in inner-city Richmond.

The alerts came after two residents of the locked-down Kings Park Apartment Complex at Southbank tested positive earlier on Tuesday.

The cases will be included in Wednesday’s official COVID-19 figures, and brings the number of infected residents in the new cluster to six.

Authorities believe transmission between the two cases occurred in a common area of the complex, which is home to 200 people.

COVID-19 Commander Jeroen Weimar said the men lived in separate apartments adjacent to those occupied by positive cases.

“Those two positive cases are connected to some communal areas that we are concerned about, thoroughfares within that particular complex,” he said.

The low-rise complex, which has about 100 townhouses, has been listed as a tier one exposure site from June 2-14.

All residents have been asked to self-isolate for 14 days.

NSW COVID case in hotel quarantine investigated

A group of returned travellers who were discharged after quarantining at a NSW hotel have been urged to immediately isolate and get retested after multiple people on the same floor tested positive for COVID-19.

On Tuesday night, NSW Health announced it was investigating the source of a COVID-19 case diagnosed while quarantining at the Radisson Blu hotel in Sydney.

The department said the source had an identical viral sequence to two cases staying in an adjacent room.

“All returned travellers who were on the same floor of the Radisson Blu hotel between June 1 and June 5 and were subsequently discharged are being contacted and asked to get tested and isolate at home pending further advice from NSW Health,” a NSW Health statement read.

All staff who worked on the fourth floor of the hotel between June 1-5 will also be tested and go into isolation pending further advice.

The department said it was unclear how and where transmission occurred from a couple to another returned traveller who all stayed on the fourth floor of the Radisson Blu quarantine hotel.

Genomic sequencing has shown all three cases have identical viral sequences of the Alpha strain (B.1.1.7).

The couple, who were asymptomatic, tested positive to COVID-19 during routine testing on June 3, NSW Health said.

The other returned traveller returned a negative test on June 3 before subsequently developing symptoms and testing positive for COVID-19 on June 5.

The three cases were transferred from the Radisson Blu to the special health accommodation, where they remain.

All three cases arrived in Sydney on the same flight from Doha on June 1 and stayed in adjacent rooms in the quarantine hotel.

“Early possibilities as to where transmission may have occurred from the couple to the secondary case include on the flight, on transport from the airport to the hotel, in the lobby of the hotel, or while in quarantine,” a statement from the department read.

NSW Health said there was no evidence of further transmission.

-with AAP