Victorian health authorities have held an emergency meeting with state counterparts after a woman who fled Melbourne’s lockdown with her husband tested positive to coronavirus at the end of her road trip through NSW and into Queensland.
The woman and her husband left an unidentified suburb on the edge of greater Melbourne on June 1, while the Victorian capital was in lockdown to control community transmission of the virus.
Victoria’s health authorities are set to provide a COVID-19 update on Thursday. We will update this article with the time when it’s confirmed. You can watch the press conference LIVE in the video player above.
They then travelled through regional Victoria, crossed the border into NSW where they visited regional centres, and then entered Queensland on June 5 – two days after she started showing symptoms of coronavirus.
The woman’s positive test on Wednesday has put regional centres in NSW and Queensland on alert.
Six close contacts of the woman have been identified so far, including her husband who has to date tested negative. The couple are now at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
Victoria’s health department said an emergency meeting of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee was held on Wednesday night.
It also raised the prospect of Victorian exposure sites related to the woman’s case.
“Any critical information will be provided to the public as soon as possible when case interviews for any potential Victorian exposure sites can commence,” the health department said.
Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski has promised to thoroughly investigate why the couple left Melbourne when a lockdown was in place, and warned that anyone who defied health directives could end up in court.
Separately, three people were caught flying into New Zealand last week, having also left Melbourne during lockdown and trying to enter the country via Sydney.
The trio, understood to be a family who planned to attend a funeral, are now in quarantine after they were caught on arrival in Auckland.
Melbourne COVID-19 update
The northern states’ scare and news of the Auckland incident came as Melbourne had confirmation its two-week lockdown was on the verge of ending.
On Wednesday, the state government announced Melbourne’s extended “circuit breaker” lockdown will cease at 11.59pm on Thursday, meaning people will be free to leave home for any reason.
But Melburnians will need to remain within 25km of their homes, unless working or studying, care giving or getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
Acting Premier James Merlino said the measure was in place to keep Melbourne residents out of regional areas over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.
Restrictions will also ease further for regional Victoria from Friday.
Victoria reported just one new local case on Wednesday and it is a linked infection. There were three new cases in hotel quarantine.