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Victorian tests positive to coronavirus in hotel quarantine after returning from Sydney’s Northern Beaches

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A Victorian has tested positive to coronavirus in hotel quarantine after returning from Sydney’s northern beaches, where a rapidly changing outbreak has thrown the region back into lockdown.

Victoria recorded three new cases in hotel quarantine on Monday, health authorities announced on Tuesday, comprising of two overseas arrivals and one returned traveller from interstate.

The state has not had a case of community transmission for 53 days.

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Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley told reporters on Tuesday there were currently no exposure sites linked to the confirmed case from Sydney, who isolated on return to Victoria. 

“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,” he said. 

Travellers and returning Victorians who have passed through Greater Sydney and the Central Coast have been banned from entering Victoria, while residents from wider New South Wales must apply for a travel permit.

The mystery outbreak in Sydney’s northern beaches grew to 83 cases on Monday, as health authorities rush to determine how the virus entered the community.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is scheduled to provide an update on case numbers within the hour. 

Northern Beaches residents are subject to lockdown conditions until midnight on Wednesday, meaning people are only able to leave their home to exercise, shop for essential goods, attend education or work, or for caregiving or health reasons.

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A number of confirmed cases visited locations outside of the Northern Beaches while infectious, NSW Chief Medical Officer Kerry Chant said on Monday, including the Turramurra Salon for Hair, which has had five cases linked to the location, and the Rose of Australia hotel in Erskineville, where two cases have been confirmed.

A full list of locations visited by confirmed cases is being updated on the NSW Health website.

Health authorities currently suspect the source of the outbreak could have been a woman from the United States after genome sequencing confirmed similarities between the strains of the virus, however, Dr Chant said it wasn’t a “perfect match”.

An “extensive investigation” is continuing to determine how the virus could have escaped quarantine to enter the community, which has included monitoring CCTV footage and the testing of any workers who came in contact with the woman. 

More to come

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your jurisdiction’s restrictions on gathering limits. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.

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Please check the relevant guidelines for your state or territory: NSWVictoriaQueenslandWestern AustraliaSouth AustraliaNorthern TerritoryACTTasmania.

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