Victoria records 61 new COVID-19 cases, as statewide lockdown looms

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Victoria has recorded 61 locally acquired new cases of COVID-19, as the state government prepares to implement a statewide lockdown and harsher restrictions to slow the spread of the worsening Delta outbreak.

Thirteen of the new infections are mystery cases and 22 were isolating during their entire infectious period. There were 45,670 tests.

The Department of Health also stated that a further 16 cases had been uncovered with rapid testing and would be reported as part of Sunday’s numbers.

A cluster around the northern Victorian town of Shepparton grew to 17 on Friday evening, prompting fears that the state’s regions would be forced back into lockdown along with Melbourne.

Police are also preparing for large numbers of anti-lockdown protestors to take to Melbourne’s streets on Saturday to rally against the latest public health orders.

Additional restrictions discussed by ministers on Friday night include the closure of childcare centres and the construction industry, as well as a further tightening of the two-hour exercise limit.

There are concerns about the virus leaking further into regional Victoria after a construction equipment supplier in Bendigo was listed as an exposure site.

Late on Friday evening, all community sporting leagues across regional Victoria were asked to cancel their activities for the weekend.

A 24-hour gym, a fruit and veg shop and a Bakers Delight store in Shepparton have also been added to the list of 500-plus exposure sites across Victoria.

More than four dozen new venues across Victoria were added to the state’s exposure list last night, including the Shepparton Tutoring Centre and Derrimut 24:7 Gym on Benalla Road in Shepparton which have been designated as tier-1 status.

A child care centre in Broadmeadows was also listed as a tier-1 site, after a COVID case visited MyCentre Child Care on August 9 and 10.

Several supermarkets, Werribee Mercy Hospital’s emergency department were also added Friday night.

More to come

With Michael Fowler and Annika Smethurst

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