Melbourne hospital cluster grows sparking fears it could derail the city’s road to coronavirus recovery and keep residents in Stage 4 lockdown misery

A Melbourne hospital cluster is threatening to throw the city’s scheduled return to normality off course – as Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews warns the state’s residents they could face extended restrictions to their lifestyle.

Victorian health authorities on Thursday confirmed one of the state’s latest 11 cases was linked to Box Hill Hospital in the city’s east.

The cluster at the facility – which was the site of an outbreak in mid-July – has grown to include two staff members and one patient.   

An investigation has been launched and contact tracers deployed to contain the cluster. 

The outbreak comes as New South Wales battles a resurgence in cases after 12 days without community transmission – recording eight locally transmitted cases on Thursday.

The confirmed cases have sparked health alerts for dozens of locations across Sydney and derailed hopes of the border re-opening with Queensland.

A healthcare worker tests for COVID-19 at a testing facility in Kilmore, north of Melbourne on October 6. A cluster of cases at a hospital in the city's east is threatening to derail Premier Daniel Andrews' roadmap to recovery

A healthcare worker tests for COVID-19 at a testing facility in Kilmore, north of Melbourne on October 6. A cluster of cases at a hospital in the city’s east is threatening to derail Premier Daniel Andrews’ roadmap to recovery

Mr Andrews said it was ‘highly unlikely that nothing will change’ come October 19 – when the third stage of restriction easing in Melbourne is scheduled.   

It comes as authorities tackle a much larger outbreak linked to the Butcher Club at Chadstone Shopping Centre, which has infected 31 people and spread to Frankston in the southeast and Kilmore in the north.

The Kilmore cluster began when a person infected with COVID-19 linked to the Chadstone outbreak dined at the town’s Oddfellows Cafe, in a breach of restrictions, on September 30.

More than 200 people who visited the cafe between September 30 and October 3 are self-isolating after a staff member contracted the virus.

Nearly 500 people have been tested in Kilmore since Tuesday, with an additional positive case linked to the cafe announced on Thursday.

In a post on The Oddfellows Cafe’s Facebook page, the business confirmed a second staff member had tested positive along with a confirmed case of a family member.

Mr Andrews warned the state's residents on Thursday they could face extended restrictions to their lifestyle

Mr Andrews warned the state’s residents on Thursday they could face extended restrictions to their lifestyle

The premier sought to reassure Victorians some restrictions will be eased as planned on October 19, although it looks unlikely Melbourne will reach its required case load targets in time.

Melbourne’s all-important 14-day case average is down to 9.7, while 14 mystery cases have been recorded between September 22 and October 5. 

Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said it would be a ‘day-by-day assessment of the situation’ as to when further restrictions are lifted.

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