SINGLE super-spreader caus two regional coronavirus outbreaks threaten to derail Victoria’s recovery

A single Melbourne resident is responsible for sparking two worrying regional coronavirus outbreaks that authorities fear could ruin Victoria’s extensive progress after to months of lockdown, health bosses revealed.

On September 30, the infected man ate at a cafe in Kilmore, spreading the virus to five other people, and then travelled to Shepparton – where another four people caught it. 

He only told contact tracers about his travel to Shepparton on Tuesday, which was more than a fortnight after his visit, the state government’s testing chief, Jeroen Weimar, said.

‘We should have been told about the Shepparton connection that he had made,’ Mr Waimar said on Wednesday. 

A single Melbourne resident is responsible for sparking two worrying regional coronavirus outbreaks that authorities fear will derail Victoria's extensive progress due to months of lockdown. Pictured: Man in a face mask walking through the CBD

A single Melbourne resident is responsible for sparking two worrying regional coronavirus outbreaks that authorities fear will derail Victoria’s extensive progress due to months of lockdown. Pictured: Man in a face mask walking through the CBD

He only told contact tracers about his travel to Shepparton on Tuesday, which was more than a fortnight after his visit

He only told contact tracers about his travel to Shepparton on Tuesday, which was more than a fortnight after his visit

He only told contact tracers about his travel to Shepparton on Tuesday, which was more than a fortnight after his visit 

‘Had we known about that, we would have done in Shepparton what we did in Kilmore and Benalla, which was to jump on all this and the contacts a week earlier.’ 

The positive case was a contact of a member of the Chadstone cluster and said he did not know he was infected when he obtained his worker permit to travel regionally.

He then travelled to Kilmore, Benalla and Shepparton on September 30. The man dined at a Kilmore cafe and spawned five cases before moving north to Shepparton.

Three Shepparton cases were confirmed late on Tuesday night, as well as fourth case earlier, and a testing blitz is underway in the town, with all residents urged to have samples taken. 

Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters the man had been referred to Victoria Police, who will decide whether the man will be fined for not disclosing the information.

‘There are infections in Shepparton today that we know of and there is almost certainly going to be more that were all completely preventable if this individual had told the full story,’ Mr Andrews said.

The state government's testing chief, Jeroen Weimar, (pictured) said the man failed to tell authorities that he had travelled to Shepparton and Kilmore

The state government's testing chief, Jeroen Weimar, (pictured) said the man failed to tell authorities that he had travelled to Shepparton and Kilmore

The state government’s testing chief, Jeroen Weimar, (pictured) said the man failed to tell authorities that he had travelled to Shepparton and Kilmore

‘He wouldn’t have got into trouble for telling the whole story. It is only when you don’t that we all have problems.’

Deputy Premier James Merlino said the background to the revelations ‘beggars belief’.

‘It would be an understatement to say we’re disappointed that we didn’t get all that information,’ Mr Merlino told the Sydney Morning Herald.

‘For someone to say they’ve been to Benalla but not mention that they’ve also been to Shepparton, it beggars belief.’

Local politican Suzanna Sheed, the state independent member for Shepparton, said the regional community had been virus-free for several weeks and the outbreak will cause great anxiety.

‘This is just the sort of thing we dreaded,’ she said.

The positive case was a contact of a member of the Chadstone cluster and said he did not know he was infected when he obtained his worker permit to travel regionally. Pictured: Residents being checked at a Melbourne checkpoint

The positive case was a contact of a member of the Chadstone cluster and said he did not know he was infected when he obtained his worker permit to travel regionally. Pictured: Residents being checked at a Melbourne checkpoint

The positive case was a contact of a member of the Chadstone cluster and said he did not know he was infected when he obtained his worker permit to travel regionally. Pictured: Residents being checked at a Melbourne checkpoint

Healthcare workers are seen at work at a drive-through testing centre at Chadstone Shopping Centre in Melbourne

Healthcare workers are seen at work at a drive-through testing centre at Chadstone Shopping Centre in Melbourne

Healthcare workers are seen at work at a drive-through testing centre at Chadstone Shopping Centre in Melbourne

Contact tracing is underway and further positive tests are expected, while authorities have listed eight high-risk sites in the town from September 30 to October 8.

The latest outbreak was discovered when a Shepparton woman developed symptoms and went for testing, who had been in contact with the infected Melburnian.

Her work colleagues at a tyre shop were then tested, with two others also positive and nine negatives, according to Mr Weimar.

Mr Weimar added the cases are not linked to an October 5 Shepparton test which was a false positive.

From Wednesday, testing sites will open at GV Health’s Acute Respiratory Clinic in Shepparton and at the showgrounds, with more expected to be set up.

Health authorities are advising all Shepparton residents to get tested and stay at home until they get their results.

Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters the man had been referred to Victoria Police, who will decide whether the man will be fined for not disclosing the information

Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters the man had been referred to Victoria Police, who will decide whether the man will be fined for not disclosing the information

Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters the man had been referred to Victoria Police, who will decide whether the man will be fined for not disclosing the information

Victoria had five coronavirus deaths on Wednesday, taking the national toll past 900.

The state has now had 816 deaths from the virus and the figure for Australia is 904.

New case numbers dropped to seven after six-straight days of double figures.

Only four of those cases are in Melbourne, with a rolling average of five or fewer cases the sought after target for lifting restrictions in the city.

Bairnsdale Secondary College in the state’s east also has a positive test.

The school posted on its Facebook page, saying it had been advised of a reported case, but it does not have to close because the person did not enter the grounds while contagious.

An opposition no-confidence motion against Premier Daniel Andrews handling of the pandemic failed in parliament on Tuesday night.

The coronavirus omnibus bill passed the upper house early on Wednesday morning. 

High risk Shepparton locations

Central Tyre Service, Welsford Street Shepparton from Wednesday 30 September 2020 to Tuesday 13 October 2020.

Bunnings Warehouse, Midland Highway Shepparton Friday 2 October 2020

McDonalds Shepparton North, 175 Midland Highway Shepparton Saturday 3 October 2020

Mooroopna Golf Club Members Bar, Sunday 4 October and Pro Shop and Members Bar Sunday 11 October

Shepparton Market Place Medical Centre, Midland Highway Shepparton Thursday 8 October 2020

Lemon Tree Café, Fryers Street Shepparton

Thai Orchid Restaurant, Nixon Street Shepparton on Wednesday 7 October 2020 from 7:00pm to 8:30pm.

Bombshell Hairdressing, Fryers Street Shepparton on Wednesday 7 October 2020 from 9:30am to 10:30am.

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