Victoria has a new COVID case after initially revelling in a day without any, while Western Australia also has a new mystery community infection.
Victoria’s Department of Health confirmed on Wednesday afternoon it was investigating a new case.
It is a teacher at Al-Taqwa College in Truganina, in Melbourne’s outer-west.
“The acquisition source of this case is currently under investigation and household contacts of the case are being urgently tested,” the department said in a statement.
One new exposure site has already been added – a Coles supermarket in Yarraville, in Melbourne’s inner-west.
The teacher’s case will be officially included in Thursday’s data.
- See all of Victoria’s exposure sites here
Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, WA Premier Mark McGowan has confirmed an “unusual” local case in Perth.
He is a fly-in, fly-out mine worker who was at Perth airport at the same time as a man from Queensland, later confirmed with the virus, flew in. He has since returned a weak positive test.
However, the FIFO worker had already had COVID in March, making his test results less clear.
He worked at the FMG Cloudbreak mine, in WA’s Pilbara region, from July 20-27, when potentially infectious.
“There is some confusion,” Mr McGowan said.
“We don’t know if he is a shedder of the virus, but that is unlikely. We don’t know if he acquired it at the airport, but that is the most plausible explanation.”
The man, who is in his 30s, was active in the Greenwood and Fremantle areas while at home in Perth.
His partner has so far tested negative. Three workmates have also been tested, with one negative back so far.
- See here for a list of WA exposure sites
Earlier on Wednesday, Victorian authorities said the state wouldn’t get an early rules reprieve despite notching its first COVID-19 clean sheet since the fifth lockdown.
COVID-19 commander Jeroen Weimar said it was cause for quiet celebration and satisfaction.
“It’s a symbolic marking of a point where there’s no more COVID cases,” he said.
“It means we’re on track with the strategy that we set three or four weeks ago.”
But it had not inspired health officials to bring forward a review on restrictions and the current batch will remain until August 10.
“We still have active cases in our community right here that we know about … we’ve still got just under 3000 primary close contacts … and we still have ongoing risks in the rest of the eastern seaboard,” Mr Weimar said.
He noted it was only a week ago that officials were caught off guard by the unlinked case of a Moonee Valley testing site traffic controller.
It remains unclear how the testing centre worker caught the virus, but Mr Weimar said a review into the source of his infection would ramp up on Wednesday afternoon.
“There’s a strong line of investigation around some movements that he had at work,” he said.
Premier Daniel Andrews similarly cited Sydney’s Delta outbreak as a reason for the state to take “cautious steps” towards greater freedoms.
“I fully acknowledge that there are some rules that are on at the moment that are very difficult, but they are nothing compared to being locked down again,” he said outside parliament.
Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien, however, seized on the figures to call for the ban on home visits to be lifted and the 25 per cent cap on workers in offices to be increased.
“Our city is a ghost town,” he said.
Active cases continued to fall earlier, down from 124 on Tuesday to 99. Until Wednesday afternoon’s addition, the number of exposure sites was also shrinking.
There are nearly 60,000 vaccination bookings available in Victoria, including 14,000 Pfizer appointments each week until early September after second dose wait times at state clinics were upped from three to six weeks.
Naomi Bromley, deputy secretary of COVID-19 vaccinations, also said the health department was looking at rolling out AstraZeneca shots at mass vaccination hubs for Australians under 60.
“We are actively considering that at the moment, and we think we’ll have more to say on that in coming weeks,” she said.
None of the nine COVID-19 patients hospitalised in Victoria were fully vaccinated. Two remain in intensive care, including one on a ventilator.
Meanwhile, the Victorian-NSW border bubble officially tightened for residents just before midnight on Wednesday, with all non-essential movement across state lines outlawed.