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Local News - Victoria

Victoria achieves 27 days with no new coronavirus cases


“I think there’s every chance that there are a handful of cases out there, this is a wildly infectious virus,” he said on Wednesday. “You’ve always got to assume there’s more out there than you know.”

There have been 20,345 cases of COVID-19 in Victoria and 819 deaths, most of them among the elderly in aged care.

Victorians will be able to enter Queensland from next Tuesday after its extended run of zero-case days.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced on Wednesday morning she would reopen the border to Victorian travellers on December 1, after the southern state recorded its 26th consecutive day without a COVID-19 case.

NSW opened to Victoria on Monday, while Tasmania is due to open from Friday. South Australia will allow Victorians to enter the state without restriction again on December 1.

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Victorians are already permitted to enter ACT and the Northern Territory has been allowing regional Victorians to enter without quarantining since November 2, but still classifies metropolitan Melbourne as a hot spot.

NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner has previously spoken of his intention to allow Melburnians back into the territory by Christmas.

Melbourne will start to receive international arrivals again on December 7, with Mr Andrews confirming there would be trials done in the hotels picked for the relaunched quarantine program.

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While infectious diseases experts are quietly confident Victoria has completely stamped out community transmission of the virus for now, they warn the biggest risk of the virus returning comes from the easing of border restrictions and the reopening of hotel quarantine.

“When we achieve 28 days we will be achieving it with bells and whistles because we will have had no new cases for 28 days and we will have no active cases left in the community,” University of Melbourne epidemiologist Tony Blakely said. “It’s the complete Rolls-Royce version.”

But Professor Blakely warned that unless Australia changed its border policy and stopped accepting people flying in from the northern hemisphere, where the virus continues to run rampant, it would only be a matter of time before there was a “slip-up somewhere” and more cases leached into the community.

The last patient in Victoria infected with the virus, a man aged in his 90s, was discharged from hospital on Monday night, after being admitted last month. The man was treated at the Monash Medical Centre for more than 40 days alongside his wife who also contracted the virus.

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Australian News

South Australia announces plan to transfer positive coronavirus cases to special facility


Positive COVID-19 cases in South Australia will be taken to a dedicated facility as part of a major crackdown on the state’s medi-hotels.

Security at the facility will be provided exclusively by SA Police officers and protective security officers, Premier Steven Marshall has announced.

The state recorded no new cases on Wednesday, after two more cases were linked to the local Parafield cluster on Tuesday.

Announcing the suite of new measures, Mr Marshall said one option being considered for the specialised facility is the old Wakefield hospital.

“Staff working at the facility will not be deployed to other medi-hotels or high-risk environments, including aged care facilities, correctional facilities or hospitals,” he told reporters.

“All staff who are working in the dedicated facility have access to the Hotel for Heroes facility, so that they have the option to rest away from their home.”

Mr Marshall said the strategies will be discussed with the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) before they are implemented.

He said he will also ask National Cabinet to consider testing all returning Australians prior to their flights.

Under the plan, travellers would be required to return a negative test result prior to boarding.

Chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier announced that an initial review of CCTV collected from the medi-hotel at the centre of the South Australian outbreak, Peppers, had been completed.

“On the basis of the stills, I can confirm that nobody was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” she said.



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Local News - Victoria

Zero active coronavirus cases in state Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton celebrates end of second wave


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“Hopefully we will be doing exactly the same thing for Victoria and we’ll see their case numbers today and tomorrow and be able to make that announcement,” she said.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed there were also no new cases to report on Tuesday, for the 25th day in a row.

Mr Andrews warned despite the pleasing milestone, outbreaks could re-emerge before a vaccine is rolled out nationwide.

“Every single Victorian can be proud of the part they’ve played in defeating the second wave but even a big run of days, 25 days of zero, is not the same as having a vaccine,” he said.

“Not everybody gets tested, and because not everybody gets tested perhaps quite as quickly as they should, we have to assume that there is more virus out there.”

Click play to see how Victoria’s second wave unfolded:

There were more than 9900 tests processed on Monday. On most weekdays last week, testing numbers were above 17,000.

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Mr Andrews reminded Victorians with any symptoms at all to get tested quickly.

“We all still need to keep playing our part, be vigilant. We know that it’s probably still out there bubbling, perhaps at a very low level.”

Monash infectious diseases physician Rhonda Stuart said the recovery of the final coronavirus patient was wonderful, “not just for the team looking after them at Monash, but for the whole state,” she told radio station 3AW.

The man and his wife – hospitalised since November 1 – were the last two remaining active cases in the state until the woman in her 80s was discharged from hospital on Thursday.

The couple both fell ill with the disease in early October and have pulled through after a serious battle with the virus, Dr Stuart said.

“They both had a stormy course really.. [but] they made it through and did really well,” she said.

Monash Health was able to secure an exemption from state authorities to allow the couple’s daughter to visit them in hospital during the darker stages of their battle with the virus.

“I think that emotional support makes a difference [to recovery],” Dr Stuart said.

“The wife was discharged last week and the gentleman was discharged last night so they could go home and be together and start living a normal life.”

The treating team from Monash Health had also treated the state’s first confirmed case of the virus.

Data from the Department of Health and Human Services shows that March 1 was the last time there were no active cases in Victoria.

Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng noted the absence of any active cases in the state was “certainly a milestone” given there were 7880 in Victoria on August 11.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said Tuesday’s triple-zero day of no new cases, no deaths and no active cases was “a testament to Victorians who endured and succeeded in a monumental task”.

“How sweet it is,” he wrote on Twitter. “Something to be so, so proud of.”

Today also marks the first time there have been no COVID patients in Victorian hospitals since March 14 (the day the health department started publishing this figure). At the peak of the second wave there were 675 people in hospital because of coronavirus.

Meanwhile, pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has released results from phase three coronavirus vaccine trials showing its vaccine candidate was 70 per cent effective in preventing COVID-19.

However, the researchers also found the efficacy hit 90 per cent based on a regime where a person is given an initial half-dose followed by a second full dose.

The breakthrough is so significant that the company will start rolling out hundreds of millions of doses of its new coronavirus vaccine by Christmas.

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It comes as Qantas chief executive officer Alan Joyce said international travellers hoping to come to Australia would need to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

“We are looking at changing our terms and conditions to say, for international travellers, that we will ask people to have a vaccination before they can get on the aircraft,” he told A Current Affair on Monday evening.

Whether you need that domestically, we will have to see what happens with COVID-19 in the market, but certainly, for international visitors coming out [to Australia] and people leaving the country, we think that is a necessity.”

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Australian News

Pushing back Australian Open start date no easy fix amid coronavirus scheduling dilemma


Having endured the greatest peacetime disruption to sport in the modern history of ball games, surely pushing the Australian Open back a couple of weeks would barely cause a blip on the radar of crisis-conditioned fans.

Simply conducting the 2021 Australian Open at Melbourne Park in February — within a drop shot of its original January 18-31 timeslot — seems something of a triumph, given Victoria was almost disqualified altogether from major sport due to its quarantine bungle false start.

Then there is the context provided by sport’s new abnormal — a Masters championship in November, AFL and NRL grand finals in late October, NBA and WNBA seasons contested inside bubbles, cricket Test matches played without crowds and Wimbledon not played at all.

Yes, starting the Australian Open a couple of weeks later than usual so the players could fulfil (now hopefully improved) quarantine requirements would not be ideal for either tennis devotees or the legion of once-a-year couch experts.

January is the perfect time for both live attendees and late-night TV viewers, even if the intemperate climate sometimes means a dogged baseliner is medium to well done by the conclusion of a five-set epic.

But near the end of a year in which Melbourne lost almost every AFL game — including the grand final — to the ongoing and personally debilitating battle to contain COVID-19, surely watching the tennis on a school night would be a trifling inconvenience.

Certainly a February Australian Open would not provide quite the same bulging bottom line on the sometimes rubbery economic benefit statements used to justify public spending on major events.

But, for all its newfound freedoms, Victoria will still be in a stage of cautious reopening in January and — as the current debate reveals — it will be a triumph to get a few hundred players to Melbourne Park, let alone thousands of travelling fans.

More problematic in the ongoing negotiations about the Australian Open’s start date is the attitude of the players, who are pampered at Melbourne Park like no other major venue.

A wide angle view looking down at the stands and showcourt at Rod Laver Arena with the Melbourne skyline in the distance.
Tennis Australia is in ongoing talks with the Victorian Government about when the Open may start.(Reuters: Hannah McKay)

The toe-curling obsequiousness toward the players began when Tennis Australia needed the powerful player lobby to support the Australian Open’s ongoing Grand Slam status — thus the press-conference birthday cakes and other acts of gratuitous pandering.

In that regard, think of the willingness of a top-100 tennis player to attend an Australian Open where they might have to quarantine as something of a test.

Has the slavish devotion of Tennis Australia to their every whim and the hundreds of millions of dollars spent by successive Victorian state governments on Melbourne Park created a store of goodwill to be returned by those players deigning to endure some inconvenience while collecting their guaranteed five-figure first-round-losers cheques?

If not, surely this would say more about the entitled mindset of the players at a time of international crisis than the intransigence of the Victorian Government.

Cricket may benefit from postponed Open

Perhaps the greatest benefactor of a delayed Australian Open would be Cricket Australia. There are 11 games scheduled in Melbourne from mid-January, which could now avoid the usual ferocious competition from a late-night Nick Kyrgios epic or Serena Williams cliff hanger.

This would be in turn a victory for Cricket Australia’s media partners, Seven and Fox Sports, and perhaps a chastening moment for the Seven officials who attempted to cut ties with the cricket — or gain a massive discount on contracted payments — as the sport battled with unavoidable scheduling complications.

As it turns out, it might be the former home of cricket, the Nine Network, that is suddenly seeking a discount from its new partners at Tennis Australia.

A male tennis player makes a facial expression during a match at the Australian Open.
Nick Kyrgios’s Australian Open matches are immensely popular with TV audiences.(AP: Andy Wong)

As anyone who has heard Jim Courier express his awkward enthusiasm about a looming season of a reality cooking show knows, the Australian Open provides relentless and presumably valuable cross promotion of the broadcaster’s new-season programming.

This at least partly explains why broadcasters are willing to pay above-market rates for “loss-leading” sports programming, and why dedicated tennis fans have the earworm jingle from a “new smash-hit comedy” in their heads for months after a fortnight of relentless bombardment.

Would the Australian Open be as valuable to Nine in February when its regular programming would usually have commenced, and when the tennis might prove something of a handicap in the race for ratings line honours?

These are the questions the media rights partners and Tennis Australia will be posing in their frantic negotiations with the Victorian Government to get the Australian Open started as close to its original date as possible.

And factors that, I would suggest, won’t get a great deal of sympathy from Victorians who have just taken a stroll without strapping on a mask for the first time in months.



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Australian News

Qantas to require coronavirus vaccine before travel, Alan Joyce confirms


Proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be a non-negotiable condition of international air travel, according to the Qantas CEO Alan Joyce.

Anti-vaxxers will be grounded in the brave new world, with Mr Joyce confirming vaccination will be a requirement to fly internationally.

Mr Joyce has repeatedly warned that international air travel won’t resume until there’s a vaccine available for staff and travellers, but on Monday night he went a step further, telling A Current Affair host Tracy Grimshaw that as soon as a vaccine becomes available it will be a condition of travel.

“For international travellers, we will ask people to have a vaccination before they get on the aircraft,’’ he said.

“Certainly, for international visitors coming out and people leaving the country we think that’s a necessity.”

RELATED: No new local COVID-19 cases in NSW for 16th day in row

RELATED: Are promising vaccines safe and will they be available in Australia?

RELATED: Hint when Australia’s international air travel could open again

If anti-vaxxers want to try alternative airlines, Mr Joyce predicted they won’t be travelling far.

“I think that’s going to be a common thing talking to my colleagues in other airlines around the globe,’’ he said.

The revelation prompted ABC presenter Tracey Holmes to ask on Twitter: “Hello all my legal friends … is this legal?.”

Another journalist, The Australian’s cricket writer Peter Lalor, replied, “I hope so.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has previously suggested vaccination will be “as mandatory as you can possibly make it” before walking those comments back in recent months.

“There are always exemptions for any vaccine on medical grounds, but that should be the only basis,” he said in August.

But just hours later, Mr Morrison told listeners on Sydney radio station 2GB that the Government would not make vaccination mandatory.

“It’s not going to be compulsory to have the vaccine,” he said.

“I mean, we can’t hold someone down and make them take it.”

The Qantas boss Alan Joyce is hoping to be back up to 60 per cent of the old business by Christmas as domestic flights resume between Sydney and Melbourne.

“If we can get Melbourne and Sydney back to where it was pre-COVID that will be 3000 people that didn’t have a role, were stood down, were working at Woolworths, somewhere else that are working for the airline again,’ he said.

Mr Joyce revealed 25,000 seats sold within 48 hours as soon as travel between NSW and Victoria opened up this month.

But it could be a long time before travel resumes to COVID-19 hot spots.

“Unfortunately with the levels of the virus in the United States and in Europe, we’re not going to see operations to those destinations in any real strength until we see a vaccine being rolled out, which is likely towards the end of 2021,” Mr Joyce said.





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Australian News

David Warner says he might miss tours in 2021 due to coronavirus restrictions


David Warner will weigh up skipping some tours in 2021, with cricket’s bio-secure bubble putting a strain on how much time he can spend with his family.

Warner is nearing the end of 100 days away from his wife and three daughters.

After leaving Australia for a white-ball series in England on August 23, Warner and 12 of his teammates flew straight to the UAE for the Indian Premier League.

They have since been whisked into two weeks of quarantine in Sydney, ahead of being reunited with their families on Thursday.

And he admits it is a factor weighing on his mind ahead of an uncertain 2021, where questions remain over a COVID-19 vaccine and international travel.

David Warner looks at his helmet as he carries it while trudging off after a dismissal
David Warner has been away from home since August 23.(AP: Trevor Collens)

Players will be able to see families in several windows during the home summer, but the year will still be full of time away.

Australia are scheduled to tour South Africa in February and March for three Tests, and could feature in the World Test Championship final in England in June.

That is followed by three ODIs and three T20s in late June and July, before three T20s against Sri Lanka in October leading into that format’s World Cup in India.

“It’s going to be very difficult to be able to [go on all tours],” Warner, now aged 34, said.

“The past six months has been quite challenging in itself getting used to these bubbles and not having the family with me.

“There are going to be times when you can come home and have time with your family. But you have that 14 days in place you have to do beforehand.

“Each individual will have to put their hand up and be brave and do that.”

David Warner grimaces as he plays a cut shot.
Warner was back to his sparking best on home soil against New Zealand.(AAP: Scott Barbour)

The veteran said last summer he could retire from either red or white-ball cricket by mid-2021 to prolong his career.

That was before Australia’s hosting of the T20 World Cup was pushed back from 2020 to 2022 and after next year’s in India, owing to the pandemic.

But with the next ODI World Cup not scheduled until 2023, the opener indicated that would most likely be the format he could miss games in.

“That’s something we have identified as players and coaching staff,” Warner said.

“The preference will be the T20 stuff over the next two years. And then gearing up for the 50-over World Cup in India in 2023.”

Meanwhile Warner also revealed on Monday he would likely not feature in the Big Bash while still playing international cricket.

AAP



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Local News - Victoria

Victoria records no new cases of coronavirus, 24th day in a row


Victorians woke to renewed freedoms on Monday morning. Masks are no longer mandatory outdoors and Victorians can now travel freely into New South Wales.

NSW reopened its border to Victoria at midnight allowing people (and dogs) to travel in freely for the first time since July.

NSW reopened its border to Victoria at midnight allowing people (and dogs) to travel in freely for the first time since July.Credit:Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce believes his airline will return to 60 per cent of pre-COVID domestic flight numbers before Christmas, as the world’s second most popular flight path in the world (Melbourne-Sydney) officially re-opens to the public today.

“It’s gone from one flight a day in the… last few months, then to seven a day and it’s a step up today and we’re seeing massive demand already occurring,” he told ABC Radio National’s Breakfast program.

“When the news of the borders opening up happened, both Qantas and Jetstar sold 25,0000 seats on Melbourne-Sydney alone in the space of 24 hours.”

Mr Joyce said Jetstar had also clocked its biggest day of sale activity ever since the announcement, with 120,000 seats again in a 24 hour period.

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Qantas and Jetstar would likely resume 60 per cent of pre-COVID domestic flight levels before Christmas depending on whether Queensland re-opened borders, Mr Joyce said.

“Then in the new year we start getting towards 100 per cent.”



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NSW coronavirus restrictions changing from November 23


NSW residents will at midnight enjoy the easing of several restrictions including the hard border with Victoria.

From 12.01am on Monday, residents of both states will for the first time in more than four months be able to freely cross into the other jurisdiction without needing a permit.

More people will also be able to attend outdoor events including religious services, which will have its cap raised from 300 to 500 people.

Customer check-in at businesses using QR codes will also become mandatory to provide patrons with a hygienic, contactless way of signing in.

Businesses that fail to have a digital system in place by Monday could face penalties.

“Any business that is serious about safety should be using digital registration, such as a QR code or other method of capturing contact details electronically. There are no excuses,” NSW Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello said earlier this month.

Hospitality venues that use electronic entry are currently allowed to apply the one person per 2 sqm rule for outdoor areas.

Checkpoints along the NSW-Victorian border came into force on July 8 following the start of Victoria’s second wave of coronavirus cases.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian was in Albury on Sunday, where she celebrated becoming the first state to be open to all Australian jurisdictions and New Zealand.

“Restrictions are eased and once the border comes down at midnight, I know life will be much more positive for this region but also for all of Australia,” Ms Berejiklian said.

SEE THE CHANGES THAT START FROM MIDNIGHT:

NSW-VICTORIA BORDER

Residents of both states will be able to travel freely across the border without needing a permit.

OUTDOOR RELIGIOUS SERVICES

The number of peope allowed at outdoor services will rise from 300 to 500, provided the audience is seated on either a chair or picnic blanket.

OUTDOOR SINGING AND CAROLS

Up to 30 singers will now be permitted outdoors, however, the current five-person limit will remain for indoor venues.

The audience or congregation may also sing but anyone aged 12 and over must wear a mask.

CONCERTS AND TICKETED EVENTS

Controlled outdoor events that are ticketed and held in an enclosed or fenced area will be allowed up to 3000 people.

Previously, music performances and rehearsals could only be held outdoors with a maximum of 500 people.

*All of the above restrictions are subject to the one person per 2 sqm rule if assigned a seat, or one person per 4 sqm if seated on the grass or on a picnic rug in an allocated area.

For more information visit NSW Health.



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Local News - Victoria

Coronavirus Victoria COVID-positive Cedar Meats worker turned away from testing twice before first abattoir case detected: inquiry


On April 17, he said, a staff member was sent home sick from the meatworks but that person was unable to get a coronavirus test because they “didn’t have symptoms to warrant a COVID test”.

The worker was turned away from testing twice and sent home before returning a positive result after insisting for a third time that a doctor screen him for COVID-19, the inquiry heard.

Cedar Meats in Brooklyn.

Cedar Meats in Brooklyn.Credit:Jason South

Mr Kairouz said he was first alerted to a positive case among his staff on April 27. He said that case came to light after another staff member severed his thumb at work and went to the Sunshine Hospital for treatment on April 23, where he developed a cough and was tested for the virus.

Two dozen staff at Sunshine Hospital were later sent home after the Cedar Meats worker tested positive. A nurse at the hospital, who had treated the worker, later tested positive.

Mr Kairouz strongly disputed comments made by then Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos at the time that the cluster had been handled “absolutely perfectly” by the department.

He said the greatest failure in the handling of the outbreak was a Department of Health and Human Services directive for staff to get tested at a multitude of testing sites, rather than setting up a single testing clinic at the abattoir.

Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel says cases weren't being managed properly, with some even lost, in Victoria's contact tracing system.

Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel says cases weren’t being managed properly, with some even lost, in Victoria’s contact tracing system.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

“My one wish is that DHHS were able to test on-site because we would have been able to get on top of the outbreak,” he told the inquiry.

“We knew how difficult it would be to communicate with 350 workers of such diverse backgrounds and language barriers once they left business. Time was of the essence. It would have ensured that detailed and more accurate information was obtained from our staff through the use of Cedar managers and interpreters. Unfortunately, DHHS could not organise this.”

Mr Kairouz also said DHHS delays in getting on top of the outbreak meant one of his staff members ended up infecting nine others in their family.

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“It was a devastating situation on a personal level,” Mr Kairouz told the inquiry. “It was a very confusing time for us all. It was a very difficult time. We were harassed and seen to have done something wrong and that was extremely hard for everyone.”

The Age has previously reported that Cedar Meats management ignored reports of workers who believed they may have had coronavirus in mid-April as “rumour and innuendo” weeks before health officials shut down the abattoir.

Between April 13 and 17, Cedar Meats and Labour Solutions, the labour-hire firm that provides more than half of the Cedar Meats workforce, had daily phone calls about a small group of workers, some of whom were off on sick days, who told management they believed they had COVID-19 or believed their coworkers were infected.

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Workers were offered face masks only on April 29, when Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton ordered the closure of the business.

Since the outbreak, Mr Kairouz said he had invested nearly $1 million in measures to protect staff, including thermal cameras, which take the temperature of staff entering the abattoir.

Australia’s Chief Scientist, Alan Finkel, told the inquiry COVID-19 cases were lost and duplicated during the second wave as Victoria’s contact tracing system was overwhelmed.

He said it was impossible to determine whether the contact tracing systems in other states in Australia would have been overwhelmed like Victoria had they been hit with hundreds of new infections a day.

“It all comes to down preparation,” Dr Finkel said.

“There is no question Victoria’s system was overwhelmed. But it’s very hard to be precise on that. Would another state collapse at 100 cases, per day sustained, per million?

“I know many of the states are training to deal with something like 50 cases per day per million without losing the ability to manage those cases. That’s not easy to do, but we do believe it is achievable.”

Dr Finkel, who has conducted a review of the nation’s contact tracing systems, also said Victoria should continue to aim for risk minimisation, rather elimination and avoid widespread lockdowns and “all their negative consequences”.

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“I have no doubt risk minimisation is the way to go. Risk minimisation is based on constant preparation, well-trained workforces and modern technology to prevent outbreaks before they occur,” he said.

The Age revealed last week that the Victorian Health Department allowed workers at the Cedar Meats abattoir to return to work while waiting on COVID-19 tests during contact tracing efforts in May.

Under the current rules, contacts of close contacts of infected people are told to immediately self-isolate – if those rules had been in place earlier in the year, the plant’s entire 350-strong workforce likely would have been told to quarantine after it was closed by Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton.

In its submission to the inquiry, the company described evidence given by former health minister Jenny Mikakos to another parliamentary inquiry in May as “factually incorrect”.

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Ms Mikakos told the committee the company took several days to hand over information about who visited the site.

Ms Mikakos, who resigned in September, wrote to Mr Kairouz in August explaining her evidence.

She acknowledged the company handed over timely information, but said contact details were sometimes out of date or lacking full names, meaning the process took longer than anticipated and hampered contact tracing.

A Health Department spokeswoman said last week the department stood by the evidence it gave to the inquiry.

The Cedar Meats outbreak, which prompted a WorkSafe inquiry, put the spotlight on Victoria’s contact tracing system during the first wave of COVID-19 infections. About 10 days after the abattoir was closed, the Andrews government announced a $20 million rapid-response team to handle high-risk outbreaks.

Premier Daniel Andrews was asked about Ms Mikakos comments, which described the handling of Cedar Meats as “absolutely perfect” on Wednesday, but declined to comment.

“I’m not seeking to correct those or add to them,” Mr Andrews told reporters.

“All I’d say to you is that’s a long time ago, there’s a political process going on at the moment down in Melbourne on these issues. I’m going to wait for the report of that parliamentary inquiry, that’s the appropriate thing to do.”

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Three new cases added to Adelaide’s coronavirus cluster


Three new cases have been added to the Adelaide COVID cluster as health authorities scramble to contain the concerning outbreak.

Widespread testing and contract tracing is underway to contain the spread of the deadly virus as multiple states slam their borders shut to South Australia.

The additional cases have been linked to a large family, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said.

“There are no cases of community transmission in South Australia outside of that cluster,” he told reporters on Tuesday afternoon.

RELATED: How Adelaide’s outbreak started

“We have seen widespread testing and South Australians have done a great job in presenting for testing and with encourage them to continue to do so.”

Mr Hunt warned the cluster could grow when Premier Steven Marshall updates figures on Tuesday afternoon.

The Health Minister said the slow increase in numbers is a positive sign the cluster could potentially be brought under control, but stressed “we are not out of the woods yet”.

“There is more to be done but we are in an extremely strong position.

“I have to say that South Australia as response is a model of early intervention and both the Prime Minister and myself have acknowledged that to our respective counterparts.”

Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory have declared SA a coronavirus hotspot and shut its borders in recent days but Mr Hunt said this goes against the federal classification of the state’s handling of the cluster.

“Our message to the other states is please look at the results in SA,” he told reporters.

“Please make sure that your response is proportionate and what the Commonwealth has set out is enhanced border screening as an appropriate response and that is what New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT have said.”



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