Ten suburbs in Melbourne have been put on Covid high alert after fragments of the virus were found in a sewerage catchment.
Victoria’s health department on Thursday revealed the fragments were detected in wastewater samples.
Residents from Clayton, Clayton South, Dingley Village, Glen Waverley, Mount Waverley, Mulgrave, Notting Hill, Springvale, Springvale South and Wheelers Hill should get tested if even the mildest symptoms appear.
The warning is especially targeted at residents who live in or have visited the ten suburbs from April 4 to 6.
Residents from Clayton, Clayton South, Dingley Village, Glen Waverley, Mount Waverley, Mulgrave, Notting Hill, Springvale, Springvale South and Wheelers Hill are advised to monitor symptoms
The warning is especially targeted at residents who live in or have visited the ten suburbs from April 4 to 6. Pictured: a sample being taken from a sewer by hydrographers in Melbourne
The fragments could have either come from a Covid-positive local being in the early active infectious phase, or from someone who is still shedding the virus after the early infectious period.
The warning comes after Victoria’s hotel quarantine program has restarted for a third time, as the state government ramps up its vaccination program despite not receiving the latest allocation of doses.
Sri Lankan Airlines flight UL604 from Colombo touched down at 4.22am on Thursday, with its 11 passengers taken by bus to the InterContinental on Collins Street in Melbourne’s CBD, where they will remain for a fortnight.
A total of 106 passengers are expected to arrive on Thursday, with other flights scheduled to land from Doha, Dubai and Singapore. All will be staying at either the InterContinental or the Holiday Inn near Melbourne Airport.
The Novotel Ibis Melbourne Central, Pan Pacific, Holiday Inn on Flinders and Element Melbourne Richmond are also ready for use after ventilation works.
The Holiday Inn on Flinders Street will function as a ‘health hotel’, taking travellers who test positive to COVID-19, while the Element Melbourne Richmond will take guests with medical conditions and complex needs.
Ventilation assessments are also underway at a further six hotels.
The state hasn’t accepted returned travellers since February 13 after workers contracted the UK Covid strain from guests at the Holiday Inn.
The outbreak, which grew to 24 cases, triggered a statewide five-day lockdown.
Victoria’s deadly second wave last year also leaked from hotel quarantine and led to a judicial review and overhaul of the program.
The fragments could have either come from a Covid-positive local being in the early active infectious phase, or from someone who is still shedding the virus after the early infectious period
Under the latest changes, returned travellers will be tested four times, have their mealtimes staggered and large family groups will be spaced out to reduce the risk of aerosol transmission.
Hotel quarantine staff have all received at least one dose of the Pzifer vaccine, while 46 per cent have received their second. The majority have also undergone N95 mask fit testing.