News Coronavirus Two local COVID cases among Vic red-zone arrivals from NSW
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Two local COVID cases among Vic red-zone arrivals from NSW

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Two members of a Melbourne family who returned from NSW have tested positive to the coronavirus.

Three of the family members returned to Melbourne by plane on July 5, while the fourth returned by car on July 8.

They initially tested negative for the virus, before one of the people who returned by plane and the person who drove home tested positive for the virus on Monday.

Victorian testing commander Jeroen Weimar said all had returned home to the city of Hume, in Melbourne’s north, on red-zone travel permits.

“We are now in the middle of conversations and discussions with the family around any other movers they may or may not have made. And how we can support them for the rest of their isolation period,” he said.

It is the fourth breach of the virus from NSW into Victoria following the cases at a Sandringham dry-cleaner, those linked to a Virgin Australia flight crew and the infectious removalist whose case was revealed on Monday morning.

Mr Weimar said there were 8019 active red-zone permit arrivals in Victoria, all from NSW. That included 744 in the past 24 hours.

“[That is] significant activity, and … our family from the city of Hume highlight the absolute portents – if you’re travelling back on a red-zone permit, you must assume that you’re positive-COVID,” he said.

Mr Weimar said the removalist whose COVID diagnosis was revealed earlier delivered furniture to a family in Whittlesea, in Melbourne’s north, and took furniture from another family, in Maribrynong, in the city’s west, to South Australia.

The removal crew spent the night of July 8 in Melbourne before heading to Adelaide.

“One of the members of the crew was contacted by NSW on [July 9] while in South Australia, identified as a primary close contact of a COVID case,” Mr Weimar said.

“They returned to NSW by the 10th and was tested, and late last night it was reported as a positive case.”

The Whittlesea family relocated to Victoria from interstate and tested negative on July 9. The Maribyrnong family has also so far tested negative.

A second member of the three-person removal crew has also since been confirmed with the virus.

Removalists are permitted workers under the state’s border permit system.

  • Victorian exposure sites can be found here

Victorian health authorities are still interviewing all the people involved in the latest outbreaks. Mr Weimar said exposure sites from the Hume family were likely to be limited because they are thought to have remained isolated even after their first negative tests.

“They represent some risk because they have arrived here and clearly at least two members have become infectious,” he said.

“If they have maintained their full isolation and have not been outside at all had contact with anybody then that will be a very good outcome.”

Monday’s cases are the first locally acquired infections in Victoria in 12 days, and come after its border with NSW and the ACT was effectively closed overnight.

NSW had its worst day in its current outbreak yet on Monday, with 112 new COVID infections in the community.

Victorian authorities confirmed no new cases in hotel quarantine on Monday. Before the local cases, the state had only 19 active infections.

Some 19,239 test results were processed in the 24 hours to Monday morning, while 12,005 Victorians received a vaccine dose at one of the state-run hubs.

From midnight Sunday, all of NSW and the ACT became red zones under Victoria’s travel permit system.

Victorian residents who missed Sunday’s deadline will still be allowed to enter the state but must isolate at home for 14 days.

The Victoria-NSW “border bubble” arrangement will remain intact for local residents, though they must continue to travel with proof of address.

Victorian authorities are also asking cross-border residents in both states not to travel outside the bubble at any time.