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Mass protests in Melbourne against proposed pandemic bill


Bureau Report

MELBOURNE: Nineteen cases of COVID-19 have emerged from mass protests in Melbourne CBD, with one person unwell in hospital.

Thousands of protesters have rallied in Melbourne’s CBD and camped outside State Parliament in recent weeks to oppose the state’s proposed pandemic bill.

The Department of Health confirmed in a statement that of the cases, 16 were unvaccinated, two were partially vaccinated and one was fully vaccinated.

“One case, in their pre-symptomatic period following their presence at the protest, attended a social gathering,” the department said.

“This social gathering is now an outbreak, with 10 confirmed cases linked so far.

“We remind all Victorians to get a COVID-19 test if they have any symptoms, or if they have been in contact with someone they know has COVID-19.”

Victoria recorded 1007 new cases of COVID-19 today and another three deaths.

The number of hospitalizations sits at 300 people, with 45 patients in ICU.

More than 90 per cent of Victorians are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the state is on alert for the new Omicron strain of the virus, although the department has said only negative test results have so far been received from travelers arriving from countries of concern.

Health authorities last night interviewed a case from New South Wales who travelled to Victoria while infectious after being in a country of concern.

The asymptomatic traveler was fully vaccinated and tested positive to COVID-19 in NSW.

Genomic sequencing is underway to determine the variant of the virus but the department advised it was taking “a conservative approach” requiring a number of their close contacts to isolate for 14 days.

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