Four cases were announced on Monday. A man in his 60s in Melbourne’s northern suburbs was the fifth person to be diagnosed in the latest cluster, health authorities announced on Tuesday morning.
By Tuesday afternoon, a further four cases had been diagnosed, all family members of that man, taking the cluster to nine cases.
The state’s chief health officer, Brett Sutton, says he is concerned the fifth case may have been infectious since 17 May.
He had a meeting with one of the four cases, one of the cases announced on Monday, a man in his 30s, which is where Sutton says he believes the virus was transmitted between the two.
Three family members of the man in his 30s have also been infected, spread across two households in the Whittlesea local government area.
Western Bulldogs AFL team in isolation and tested for Covid
Western Bulldogs AFL players, the club’s football department staff and match-day staff are in isolation after a staff member reported being at the Highgate shopping centre during a Covid-19 exposure period.
The group have all been tested for the coronavirus today and must isolate until a negative result is returned. The club said the move was a precautionary measure to rule out any risk and that it expected players and staff would be able to return to training on Wednesday, pending the negative test results being received overnight.
“The Bulldogs cooperated fully with the advice, in the best interests of public health and safety,” a club statement read.
The Bulldogs face Melbourne at Marvel Stadium on Friday night, but the club said it expected minimal disruption to preparations for the match between the top two on the AFL ladder.
The AFL earlier announced it would suspend ticket sales for all matches this week and next, while Victoria’s acting premier, James Merlino, said authorities would monitor the situation over the coming days.
“For footy crowds and for other events there will be a public events advisory panel which will advise of any changes – we’re not making any announcements today,” Merlino said.
“We are looking at range of events, whether it’s footy or other cultural events, we will work through all of those and provide further advice.”
Craig Kelly threatens to vote against superannuation reforms
Another issue simmering away in the background is whether the government will be able to pass its superannuation reforms that are currently before the House of Reps.
The former Liberal MP Craig Kelly, who now sits on the crossbench, is threatening to vote against the reform package, announced in the budget, unless a raft of amendments are agreed to.
Kelly told Guardian Australia that when he moved to the crossbench he had pledged to adhere to Liberal values, and there were elements in the bill that “were completely contrary to Liberal party values and Liberal party principles”.
He will move amendments to change the veto test included in the package and to remove a “stapling” provision that would link a member to a superannuation account to avoid duplication.
However, even if Kelly voted against the bill, the government would still be able to pass the legislation through the lower house with the speaker having a casting vote.
The Covidsafe contact tracing app has now found 567 close contacts not found through manual contact tracing methods, the Digital Transformation Agency has told Senate estimates.
This is a significant increase on the 17 close contacts previously reported, and on Monday night the DTA’s chief digital officer, Peter Alexander said the new number was determined through agreements made between the federal and state health departments on the correct figure.
The 567 close contacts were identified through the 779 people who agreed to upload their data from the app after testing positive to Covid-19.
DTA chief executive Randall Brugeaud said the agency was “very happy” with the performance of the app, because each one of those people could have spread Covid-19.
No data was given on whether, if any, of those 567 people later tested positive for Covid-19.
The app has cost Australian taxpayers $7.75m, excluding advertising costs which are the responsibility of the health department. DTA estimated the monthly operating costs of the app to now be around $75,000, lower than the $100,000 originally estimated.
Brugeaud said DTA had been able to reduce this further to $60,000 from 1 July.
When asked whether the app would be killed off, Brugeaud said there were “on-going discussions” with the health department about the use of the app, but it wasn’t DTA’s decision to make:
It’s not our decision to make, but we are able to do that, and there are provisions in place for us to do the necessary deletion of data to ensure that people’s privacy is protected.