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Australia Victoria records one locally acquired COVID-19 case as authorities continue investigations into source

11:31  12 june  2021
11:31  12 june  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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Health Minister Martin Foley said the new case lived in the City of Melbourne. © Getty Health Minister Martin Foley said the new case lived in the City of Melbourne.

Victoria has recorded one new locally acquired case of COVID-19.

The health department says it is investigating the source of the infection.

Health Minister Martin Foley said the new case lived in the City of Melbourne. He said the case came in very late on Friday night.

"Our team will continue their investigations today as to the acquisition source of that case," he said.

"The team spoke to the case last night and is conducting further interviews today.

"This case has done all the right things. From our initial interviews, the individual recognised they had symptoms, got tested, and had a test result, all within the same day, that is, yesterday."

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There are now seven infections in Victoria where authorities still do not know the acquisition source.

The other mystery cases are a Reservoir household of four and two Victorians who travelled to Queensland before testing positive.

COVID-19 commander Jeroen Weimar said the new case was a man with a young family.

He said the family of four had now been tested, with results expected later today.

Community urged to get tested 

Mr Weimar said he was certain it was a Kappa strain case. 

"We haven't got a definitive index case connection into the rest of the cluster, but all other evidence points to it being connected," Mr Weimer said.

Mr Weimar said the two outbreaks in Melbourne — one being the larger Kappa outbreak that had developed over the last two and a half weeks from the City of Whittlesea, Port Melbourne, the Arcare Maidstone facility, Reservoir and the two Victorians in Queensland — were branches of the same fundamental outbreak.

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"Collectively over the outbreak, over the different branches, we still have 2,300 primary close contacts isolating with over 4,000 primary close contacts now cleared," he said.

"Our concern at the moment is there may well be more people out there, there may well be more branches out there from this outbreak.

"It is so important now, while we still have restrictions in place, that we identify any other branches that may be there."

He said anyone with symptoms should get tested as soon as possible.

"About three days ago, I was confident about testing numbers," Mr Weimar said.

"I think I am concerned the testing numbers are dropping and while we are still dealing with new cases emerging, I would really encourage people to keep those testing numbers up."

In the past 24 hours, there have been three new cases in hotel quarantine in Victoria, bringing the total number of active cases in the state to 74.

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More than 15,000 COVID tests were processed yesterday and there are more exposure sites listed, including at a supermarket, chemist and a medical centre.

Though exposure sites from today's case were yet to be added, Mr Weimar said new exposure sites associated with the Reservoir case were in Bundoora, Reservoir, Thomastown and Epping.

Mr Weimar said they now had more than 760 primary close contacts from West Melbourne Delta outbreak still in isolation, but he said the North Melbourne Primary School would now reopen on Tuesday after a deep clean.

Day two out of lockdown

Even as authorities race to investigate the source of the seven cases, Melburnians are enjoying their second day of freedom. 

Robert Booy from the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance told the ABC the Victorian government had been learning from each lockdown.

"They are getting more and more balanced," Professor Booy said.

"I actually think the change to opening up is a good one. And I think they can open up more over the coming weeks."

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Questions have been raised for the need to wear masks outdoors as well as indoors, but Professor Booy said it was an effective and simple measure to control the virus.

"They are not an imposition like having to shut your business or not being able to go to school or just being limited to just 5 kilometres around the house," he said.

"I applaud their contact tracers who have done just so well to track down [the cases]."

Book ahead to vaccinate

Mr Foley said there was a continued demand for the Pfizer vaccine, recommended for those under 50, and it was important to book an appointment.

"Under the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation, ATAGI's guidelines, people who get their first dose of Pfizer needs to return within three to six weeks following that first dose for their second dose, and therefore get the full benefits of the vaccine's protection," he said.

"Some 50,000 people are already booked in for their first Pfizer dose in the coming weeks.

"Of course, every first dose booking in the system for the next weeks will proceed."

He said into the future tens of thousands of Victorians would continue to be able to book an appointment for their first dose of Pfizer and new appointments would be made progressively available to people when their second dose schedule was due.

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"And when more doses are delivered by the Commonwealth, we will be able to increase the number of bookings for first doses as well," he said.

"I stress that booking ahead is important, given those high levels of demand."

Give vaccine to teens, expert says

As authorities encourage more people to get vaccinated, Professor Booy says it should be opened up to teenagers as well.

"It is already in northern America and parts of Europe and the UK for 12 to 15-year-olds," he said.

"They are important because they are people who mix, who kiss and hug. They have intimate behaviours which younger children don't."

He said primary school children had a very low risk of getting any symptoms.

"They have got a halving of the risk of actually catching it and a very low risk of transmitting it to each other or to teachers. It happens but it is rare," Professor Booy said.

"Whereas older teenagers, 12 to 15-year-olds, are the spreaders and they can on occasion be a super spreader."

He said it was important to recognise that COVID-19 could cause severe disease in teenagers on occasion.

"So it is teenagers who can spread the disease, who could be directly protected and who could all contribute to our herd immunity and getting out of this pandemic," Professor Booy said.

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Queensland records one locally acquired case of COVID-19 as state eases restrictions with Victoria .
Queensland records one new locally acquired case of COVID-19 linked to a woman who tested positive for the virus at the weekend.The man in his 60s visited the Portuguese Family Centre at Ellen Grove at the same time as the woman while she was infectious after travelling to Australia from Portugal.

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