VICTORIAN health authorities are monitoring a COVID-19 outbreak in Melbourne’s northern suburbs with close concern after 10 new cases of the virus were detected in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 15.

State Government health officials have not moved to send the state into lockdown despite the growing number of cases linked to the City of Whittlesea cluster, but have not ruled a lockdown out in coming days.

Cases in the cluster have all been traced to a Wollert man who tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from hotel quarantine in South Australia earlier this month. 

A direct link between the Wollert man and other cases in the cluster has not been found, but genomic sequencing has confirmed all the subsequent positive tests are connected. 

The government has published a list of exposure sites online, with several sites in Epping, Thomastown and Lalor listed. People can view the full list of exposure sites at www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/exposure-sites

Acting Premier James Merlino said the new cases underscored the importance of people getting tested for the virus and being vaccinated. 

He said there had been a surge in demand for both tests and vaccines in the past two days. 

Minister for Health Martin Foley said it was a positive sign that all the cases in the cluster had been linked, with the exception of the missing link between the Wollert man and the second case. 

He said the Department of Health had identified more than 300 close contacts of positive cases, most of whom had returned negative tests or were waiting for results. 

Mr Foley said several COVID-19 testing locations, including Northern Health in Epping, had put on more staff to cope with high demand, and that four new testing sites across the state would open. 

People can find testing locations by visiting www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/where-get-tested-covid-19

He said surging demand for COVID-19 vaccines a ‘strong sign that people have got the message to get vaccinated’. 

Chief health officer Brett Sutton said health authorities had ‘run down multiple generations of transmission in the past 48 hours’ and if everyone who had attended an exposure site was tested, the government had a chance to contain the outbreak. ReplyForwardCM