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Australia Casey coronavirus cluster centres on five Melbourne households that broke the 5km limit and home-visit rules

05:42  19 september  2020
05:42  19 september  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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A cluster of 34 coronavirus cases in Casey , in Melbourne 's south-east, is linked to Victoria's largest coronavirus cluster outside of aged care is centred around five households whose residents broke the stay-at- home rules to travel outside their 5 km radius and visit each other, Victorian health

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Victoria's largest coronavirus cluster outside of aged care is centred around five households whose residents broke the stay-at-home rules to travel outside their 5km radius and visit each other, Victorian health authorities say.

The first positive test in the Casey cluster was recorded two weeks ago, on September 4, and it has since grown to 34 cases.

Jeroen Weimar, head of community engagement and testing at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), said the cluster in Melbourne's south-east was spread across five households.

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Casey coronavirus cluster centres on five Melbourne households that broke the 5 km limit and home - visit rules . Victoria's largest coronavirus cluster outside of aged care is centred around five households whose residents broke the stay-at-home rules to travel outside their

Victoria has had three coronavirus deaths, taking the state toll to 766 and the national figure to 854, and there are 28 new cases. It emerged last week that some people involved in the cluster had breached lockdown rules by travelling more than 5 km from home and visiting other households .

"We have had to undertake a significant and painstaking contact-tracing exercise to actually get to the bottom of which other households were involved and how those households are connected," he said.

"What we've seen is obviously some normal travel that we would expect people to conduct in order to get the necessary things for life … but we've also seen in this particular cluster visiting of houses beyond the 5km radius."

He said the households were located in the suburbs of Hallam, Clyde, Narre Warren South and Cranbourne North, which are all within the City of Casey local government area.

"In this particular cluster we have had, unfortunately, some members of those households visiting other households," Mr Weimar said.

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"It is that limited amount of contact, relatively infrequent contact, between these five households that has now meant that we have 34 people in five houses experiencing or living with a very real threat of the coronavirus."

DHHS is now encouraging anyone in the Casey and Dandenong areas to get tested for coronavirus, even if their symptoms are extremely mild.

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More cases could be linked to Casey cluster in coming days

Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said there was a particular focus on testing people who had been to Fountain Gate Shopping Centre.

"We think that most of the cases are linked to contact between these households but there have been visits to Fountain Gate," he said.

"We are not aware of any links at the moment of transmissions in that setting … but it's really more out of caution than genuine concern."

Professor Cheng said 4,228 people had been tested in the Dandenong and Casey areas over the past week.

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Families can visit households in Sydney, down on the South Coast, or anywhere else within New South Wales. But once in New South Wales, everyone is subject to the tougher rules in that state. Victorian coronavirus cluster centred on five households who broke stay-at- home rules .

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New testing sites have been opened at the Clyde Recreation Reserve Footy Pavilion, Hallam Secondary College and the Noble Park Rapid Testing Site.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the outbreak had been "challenging" for contact tracers because not all the links were immediately obvious.

He said the outbreak had been "very well handled" but there could still be more cases in coming days.

"It is disappointing but hopefully this is a really, really strong reminder that nobody gets a pass from this, everybody has to follow the rules," Mr Andrews said.

"The rules are in place for a reason, and anyone who undermines these rules undermines entire strategy — and it just means the rules will be on for longer."

Victoria recorded 45 new coronavirus cases and five deaths on Friday.

No new infections were linked to the Casey cluster.

Metropolitan Melbourne's 14-day case average is now sitting at 42.7, which remains within the 30 to 50 range required to move to the next step on September 28.

[embed: 14-day average]

Casey GP Amena Azizi is worried some people are not getting tested for coronavirus, despite having symptoms or being advised to do so by their GP.

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Victoria's coronavirus cases drop dramatically as seven deaths reported. Public health authorities are racing to stop infections growing in the Casey and Dandenong council areas on the Melbourne 's southeast rim, which now has 90 active cases. Five households in Clyde, Cranbourne North Contact tracers discovered members of each house had been breaching the 5 km travel limit for visits .

Metropolitan Melbourne is under strict Stage Four lockdown - limiting Melburnians travelling more than 5 km from their 'It is that limited amount of contact, relatively infrequent contact between these five households that The Casey and Dandenong cluster is testing the capacity of COVID-detectives. Pictured: A coronavirus testing centre in Cranbourne on September 17. A man with a dog is seen

While none of her patients are in that position, she said she had spoken to community members and other GPs who shared her fears.

"People are telling me that some people are actually not going to do the test," she told ABC Radio Melbourne.

"They are sick and they are really sick some of them.

"A few of the GPs actually said we have told them to do COVID-19 [testing] but they are not doing it."

Dr Azizi said one of her patients had a friend who was so sick she was having trouble breathing and was unable to talk on the phone, but still refused to do a test, preferring instead to self-isolate in her room.

Dr Azizi believes some of the concern around testing stems from a fear that a diagnosis would put tougher restrictions on everyone in the household. She thinks GPs should have the ability to involve the police if a patient refuses a test.

"I think some sort of enforcement would be much better but that is my idea, I don't know," she said.

Dr Azizi — who is fluent in Pashto, Persian and Dari and often treats patients from migrant backgrounds — believes a lack of education on the disease could be the problem, rather than language barriers.

"Most of them they can speak [English] very well … but I'm not sure, maybe they don't get what is coronavirus and what is involved," she said.

There's also a fear that teenagers aren't taking the virus seriously and continue to meet up with friends, she said.

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Homaira Mershedi is an Afghan community leader in Melbourne and said her community had been unfairly "singled out" over the outbreak.

She said it created a sense of shame that might stop people from getting tested.

"One good thing about the Afghan community is they obey rules, they love rules, because they came from a country that literally had no law," she told ABC Radio Melbourne on Friday morning.

"The majority of the people are obeying the rules. They don’t want to get COVID-19. They care about their elders and the house. A lot of the Afghan community, they live together with their parents."

Earlier this week, Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said there was evidence of some community transmission and offered to speak to multicultural groups in the area.

"I have made an offer to personally speak to that community," Professor Sutton said.

"Having been to Afghanistan a couple of times over the years, I want to be able to reflect on my cultural experiences and the fact I know that there are universal motivations that every family has: to do the right thing, to protect their families."

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Melbourne restrictions to ease further as city 'ahead of schedule' in second wave fight .
Melbourne's curfew will be lifted from 5am on Monday morning as coronavirus restrictions are eased in Victoria. Limits on shopping, outdoor gatherings and visiting patients in hospitals are among further changes to come into effect for Melbourne residents from 11.59pm tonight.However, there remains only four reasons to leave your home and that stays in place until Melbourne moves to Step three.

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