Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. Source: ABC
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  • Victorians have woken up to new COVID-19 restrictions after the state recorded one locally acquired case of the virus
  • A hotel quarantine worker has tested positive for coronavirus, though to be the U.K. strain, while working in the hotel hosting Australian Open players and staff
  • Over 600 people, including those linked to the tennis tournament, are considered close-contacts of the infected case
  • They’ve been asked to self-isolate and seek a COVID-19 test, while Melbourne residents have been asked to don masks in public
  • Household gatherings have also been halved, while the amount of people allowed to return to workplaces has been cut
  • Premier Daniel Andrews said it’s not clear at this stage how the worker contracted the virus, with no breaches in protocol identified
  • Additionally, the leader has ruled out implementing a lockdown just yet, despite other states enacted lockdowns after a single local case emerged

A late-night press conference by the Victorian Premier has seen restrictions re-introduced across Melbourne after a hotel quarantine worker tested positive for COVID-19.

Daniel Andrews revealed on Wednesday night that the worker in questions was taking part in the Australian Open program, which saw hundreds of players and staff quarantined across Melbourne ahead of play beginning this month.

Up to 600 people linked to the tennis tournament are now considered close contacts of the man who contracted the virus, thought to be the highly-contagious U.K. strain, and they must all self-isolate and seek testing.

Premier Andrews also announced the re-introductions of mask mandates, with the face covering to be worn by every Victorian in public from today.

Additionally, households can only have 15 guests over at any given time, down from 30, and workplace capacity extensions have been postponed.

The Victorian Leader said work is also underway to determine exactly how the hotel quarantine worker contracted the virus, given the sweeping changes made to the system in the wake of last year’s second wave of infections.

“We can find no problem, no breach of protocol or anything of that nature in terms of his employment,” the Premier explained.

“This model of hotel quarantine, every other state and territory has agreed to copy this model. It is best practice,” he said.

“This speaks to the wildly infectious nature of this virus. These mutant strains of this virus are an even greater challenge than even all the things we faced during 2020,” he added.

Along with the hundreds of close contacts, a number of venues across Melbourne have been labelled hot-spots after the worker visited the sites while potentially infectious.

Anyone who attended the areas on the specific times and dates the worker also attended the venues is being asked to self-isolate and seek a COVID-19 test.

At this stage, Premier Andrews said a hard lockdown isn’t likely to be enacted, despite Perth, Adelaide and Brisbane all placing millions of residents into lockdown after one locally-acquired case of COVID-19 occurred.

“If I get advice to do something, then I’ll follow the advice. That’s what’s kept us safe,” he said when asked about whether or not another lockdown would occur.

The Victorian leader added he will wait to see if more positive test results are returned in the community before making a decision on bringing in further restrictions.

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