Australia news LIVE: Victoria’s lockdown begins; Sydney’s exposure sites continue to grow amid extended shutdown

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Sydney hospitals affected by virus exposures

The frontline of Sydney’s COVID-19 outbreak has widened from family homes to workplaces across the city, with potential clusters emerging at a major building site, two hospitals and an aged care facility.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian warned Friday’s numbers would be higher because 35 of the 65 new cases in NSW reported on Thursday spent some time in the community while infectious. The lockdown will not end on July 30 unless that infectious figure reaches zero.

SydPath staff conduct COVID-19 tests at the 24-hour drive through clinic at Fairfield Showground. Credit:Louise Kennerley

Ms Berejiklian is under pressure to define what constitutes an essential worker, however she said on Thursday the health orders were clear and everyone must stay at home unless absolutely necessary.

Read the full story here.

Removalists who sparked Melbourne COVID-19 outbreak face ‘wheels of justice’

Three Sydney removalists who sparked an outbreak of COVID-19 across Melbourne have been referred to police as some residents of the locked-down apartment block they visited called for them to be named and shamed for not wearing masks while working.

COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar vowed “the wheels of justice will get them” as contact tracers in three states struggle to get straight and timely information from the trio, who drove from Sydney last Thursday and made two stops in Melbourne before heading to South Australia.

COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar.Credit:Justin McManus

New exposure sites were revealed by South Australian and NSW authorities late on Wednesday and early on Thursday, days after the removalists were first interviewed by authorities.

Here’s everything we know about their movements so far.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning and welcome to another day of our live coverage. It’s Friday, July 16. I’m Broede Carmody.

Here’s everything you need to know.

  • Victorians are waking up to the first day of their fifth lockdown since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Stay-at-home orders will remain in place for five days, however Premier Daniel Andrews says he cannot guarantee the lockdown will end Tuesday evening. Seven new cases were announced yesterday, more than 6000 people are in isolation and there are at least 75 exposure sites across the state (including AAMI Park after a positive case case attended the France versus Wallabies rugby union match on Tuesday night).
  • NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has told people in Sydney to brace for an increase in cases today. Yesterday, the state recorded 65 new cases (28 of which were infectious in the community). Nineteen NSW coronavirus patients are in ICU and Westmead and Liverpool hospitals have been exposed to the virus.
  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison has backed a plan for Victorians to qualify for income assistance even during snap lockdowns. The PM hopes this could be a model for other states and territories, with national cabinet set to discuss the issue later today.
  • Queensland recorded three cases yesterday, including a 12-year-old boy and a vaccinated airport worker. None of the new cases are linked to known clusters and, as a result, mandatory indoor masks will remain in place for much of south-east Queensland.
  • In sports news, the families of NRL players won’t be able to join their loved ones in Queensland for the league’s new COVID-19 bubble. The travel exemptions were shot down by the Queensland state government. Meanwhile, three AFL matches have moved to the Gold Coast.
  • In overseas news, record in rainfall has caused devastating floods in Germany and Belgium with scores dead and dozens missing. Homes have collapsed, bridges are down and streets are underwater.
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