Sydney’s northern beaches cluster has spread to Victoria. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Flavio Brancaleone
Sydney’s northern beaches cluster has spread to Victoria. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Flavio Brancaleone

Teen brings Sydney cluster into Victoria

Sydney's coronavirus cluster has spread to Victoria after a teenage girl returning from the northern beaches tested positive.

Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley confirmed the case was a 15-year-old girl who had acquired the virus in the hotspot area.

Health authorities said the close contacts of the case were understood to be limited and contact tracing was underway.

Mr Foley said the teenager was from the Moonee Valley local government area.

He said the girl had visited several high-risk exposure sites in Sydney, including the Avalon RSL.

The girl drove home from Sydney with her mother on December 17 and was tested on December 20.

Mr Foley said the pair stopped briefly in Gundagai north of the NSW border but did not stop in Victoria.

He said the teenager was at home in isolation and her mother had since tested negative.

Two other household members were expected to be tested on Tuesday morning.

"They have isolated when they returned to Victoria and as a result of the awareness of the situation in Sydney, the young person has sought testing," Mr Foley said.

"Given the family were isolating at home, at this point, there are no known exposure sites in Victoria.

"Anyone who has returned from the northern beaches area, greater Sydney or the Central Coast needs to get tested and quarantine for 14 days."

NSW Health said the girl's family members in Sydney were all in isolation and had so far tested negative.

The confirmation of the new case came just hours after Victoria slammed its border with NSW shut.

Victorian health authorities are also monitoring hundreds of "close contacts" who returned from Sydney before the border cut off.

Health department testing commander Jeroen Weimar said about 300 Victorians who had been in either the red or amber zones in Sydney since December 11 had been identified.

Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley confirmed a young girl had tested positive after returning from Sydney. Picture: Darrian Traynor/NCA Newswire
Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley confirmed a young girl had tested positive after returning from Sydney. Picture: Darrian Traynor/NCA Newswire

But Mr Weimar said he expected the number to grow as more returning travellers were identified in coming days.

He said the Department of Health and Human Services continued to pursue the 300 people to determine their testing results and isolation requirements.

"We have 300 people who we know have been exposed to those exposure locations that New South Wales have listed," Mr Weimer said.

"Three hundred people in Victoria who are being tested, who are being isolated, who are working with our contact tracing and health colleagues.

"We expect over the coming days, as more of those returning Victorians from (Monday) get themselves tested and contact us, that the number will grow.

"For the avoidance of doubt, any Victorian who returned from Greater Sydney on Monday needs to get tested and needs to isolate for 14 days at home."

He said authorities had been in contact with more than 1000 hotels in Sydney to identify any travellers returning from the northern beaches and had so far located 36 people of interest.

Mr Foley said 17 people, including a family of five, had already been placed in hotel quarantine after returning from the northern beaches "red zone" since Friday without being permitted to travel.

"That is 17 people who will be spending their Christmas and their New Year, not as they planned, but in hotel quarantine," he said.

"My message to anyone trying to enter Victoria from New South Wales is don't. You won't get in, and if you do, you'll be spending your time at Christmas and New Year in hotel quarantine."

The Hume Freeway at the NSW-Victorian border near Albury Wodonga on December 20. Picture: Simon Dallinger
The Hume Freeway at the NSW-Victorian border near Albury Wodonga on December 20. Picture: Simon Dallinger

Victoria Police have set up checkpoints along the Murray River and NSW border to ensure only people with permits or living in a border community are allowed to enter Victoria.

Anyone entering Victoria from Sydney or the NSW Central Coast must now do 14 days mandatory hotel quarantine.

Those travelling from the northern beaches area will not be allowed to enter Victoria.

Two other Victorian cases were recorded in returned international travellers in hotel quarantine.

Victoria hasn't recorded a locally-acquired case in 53 days. There are currently 11 active cases in the state, 10 of whom are in hotel quarantine.

jack.paynter@news.com.au

Originally published as Teen brings Sydney cluster into Victoria


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