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Victoria records 19 new local COVID-19 cases as MCG-linked infections continue to spread

COVID-19 infections continue to spread from a members’ stand at the MCG, with a 20-year-old man among 19 new locally acquired cases in Victoria.

The state’s latest case numbers include at least two school students as authorities confirmed exposure sites on Saturday rose to 165 from 30 overnight.

More than 10,000 primary close contacts from the sites, including pubs, clubs, restaurants, sporting venues, shopping centers, schools, and gyms in metropolitan Melbourne, suburbs, and multiple locations at Phillip Island, a two-hour drive south of Melbourne.

“(Of the new cases) 18 were infectious in the community for some time, and one was isolating the entire period,” Victoria’s Health Minister Martin Foley said on Saturday.

“Of those 18, an average of 1.7 days of their infectious period was spent in the community, and that figure is a vindication of the going-hard-and-going-early strategy that the public health team has put to the government.”

Investigations continued into the exposure of crowd members at the Geelong-Carlton game at the MCG last Saturday. The “index case”, a man aged in his 60s from Barwon Heads, attended the game with a friend who is also positive. They attended Young and Jacksons pub in the CBD, where four men unknown to them contracted the virus. Once at the ground, the man-made “several movements from his seat,” COVID response chief Jeroen Weimar said.

“He was a particularly diligent QR code user, so we thank him for that.”

Tracing has identified potential “fleeting contact at bar areas”.

All new Victorian cases are linked to the current outbreak, which totals 43 community cases. None are in hospital.

Multiple new exposure sites can be found at www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au.

Victoria’s COVID test numbers for Friday totaled 47,606, and 19,237 got vaccinated, authorities said.

A fifth lockdown that began in Victoria on Thursday night will run until at least Tuesday.

Authorities said it was too early to comment on a possible extension of the lockdown.

“There is enormous frustration for all of us about the uncertainty around this virus,” Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said. “But you might as well look at a horoscope as to how the trajectory will look three days from now.

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