A two-month long streak with no locally acquired coronavirus cases in Victoria has come to an end with three women diagnosed in Melbourne.
Two women in their 40s and a woman in her 70s from Mitcham, Hallam and Mentone were revealed on Wednesday as having tested positive.
It’s believed their infections may be linked to a Sydney outbreak, where authorities are trying to get on top of clusters in the city’s northern beaches and inner west.
Victorian authorities have added a new exposure site for the Victorian cases, dating back to December 21 at the Smile Buffalo Thai restaurant in Blackrock.
That’s on top of a series of locations released by the health department late on Wednesday, with exposure dates between Boxing Day and December 28.
They include Katlialo restaurant in Eaton Mall in Oakleigh; Mentone/Parkdale Beach; Century City Walk and Mocha Jo’s in Glen Waverley; Kmart, Big W Target, Millers, King of Gifts and Lacoste stores at the Fountain Gate Shopping Centre, and the Holy Family Catholic church at Doveton.
Contact tracing has identified more than 40 primary close contacts of the women, who are isolating at home.
Victoria’s testing chief Jeroen Weimar expects more close contacts to emerge.
“We have been in this position before and we are deploying our full outbreak approach around these cases,” Mr Weimar said.
“We always knew this virus had us in a precarious position and we need to make sure we do everything we can to stamp out any further transmissions.”
Victoria has also announced tighter border restrictions with NSW, adding to bans on the northern beaches, Greater Sydney and central coast.
From Friday, anyone travelling from Wollongong and the Blue Mountains in NSW will not be allowed to enter Victoria.
Anyone already in Victoria who travelled to those regions since December 27 should get tested and stay at home until their results come back.
Until Wednesday, Victoria had been on a 60-day streak of no locally acquired coronavirus cases.
Despite the run, celebrations for the new year in Victoria were already going to be muted on Thursday night.
“It has been a very hard year and we have done an incredible thing as Victorians – let’s not risk it as we celebrate the end of 2020,” Police Minister Lisa Neville said.
Meanwhile, a NSW woman, 57, has been arrested after speeding through a checkpoint in East Gippsland on Wednesday.
The woman is from Bateau Bay on the NSW Central Coast, a designated red zone.
Police had to use a tyre deflation device to stop her car.