COVID-19 case linked to Vic navy base

Victoria has recorded six new COVID-19 cases on the first day of its snap lockdown, including a member of the defence force at a Royal Australian Navy base on the Mornington Peninsula.

The member, based at HMAS Cerberus, has been in isolation since they tested positive for the highly infectious Delta variant on Thursday, the Department of Defence has confirmed. 

The member visited an exposure site at the weekend. 

Live-in navy personnel at HMAS Cerberus have been confined to their barracks and training and leave has been suspended.

Meanwhile, 200 staff at the Royal Melbourne Hospital have been stood down after they were potentially exposed to a patient who is a close contact of a COVID-19 case.

The hospital is still operating on reduced staff but has postponed elective surgery. 

The staff have been told to isolate for 48 hours to enable contact tracing efforts.

There are currently no COVID-19 patients in the hospital.

It comes as Victoria recorded 10 new COVID-19 cases in the 24 hours to Friday morning, four of which were already reported by authorities. 

All the cases are linked to known outbreaks and bring the total number of active cases in the state to 36. 

Some 33,129 tests were processed and 17,188 Victorians were vaccinated at the state-run hubs during the same period. 

More than six million Victorians are living under stay-at-home orders for the fifth time since the start of the pandemic, due to a growing outbreak of the Delta variant.  

The rules applied during last month’s lockdown have been reimposed, including a 5km travel limit for exercise and shopping and compulsory mask-wearing indoors and outdoors.

“We’ve got no choice. We don’t want this getting away from us and being locked down for months,” Premier Daniel Andrews said on Thursday. 

Late on Thursday, the federal government announced the COVID-19 Disaster Payment scheme would be available to people who work or live in Greater Melbourne, as well as the local government areas of Moorabool Shire, the City of Greater Geelong, Borough of Queenscliff and the Surf Coast Shire.

People who have lost at least 20 hours a week will get $600 while those who have lost between eight and 20 will receive $375.

No liquid assets test will be applied to the payments.

The Victorian government will provide “significant additional economic support to businesses”. 

Mr Andrews has warned the lockdown could be extended beyond 11.59pm on Tuesday.

“It may be longer because it depends on what every Victorian does,” he said. 

However, he flagged restrictions in regional Victoria could be lifted earlier if it is safe to do so

The majority of infections are connected to NSW removalists who breached their worker permit conditions and spread the virus during a drop-off at the Ariele Apartments in Maribyrnong late last week.

A Victoria Police spokesman told AAP it was helping to establish the three-person crew’s movements as part of a health department investigation.

Of greatest concern to authorities are three cases of suspected “stranger-to-stranger transmission” at an AFL match between Carlton and Geelong at the MCG on Saturday.

A positive case also attended the international rugby clash between the Wallabies and France at AAMI Park on Tuesday night, with stadium management working with health officials to identify close contacts.

There are more than 110 exposure sites across Melbourne and regional Victoria, including the MCG and several stores at Chadstone shopping centre.

Several hundred people gathered outside Flinders Street Station on Thursday night to protest the latest lockdown. 

No one was arrested. 

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