Victoria wakes up to 11 new local COVID-19 cases and reinforced mask mandates, as Greater Sydney vaccination rates spike over the lockdown period

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  • Melbourne is bracing for news which could nudge it towards yet another lockdown, after state health authorities detected 11 new cases of COVID-19 in the community over Wednesday.
  • Face masks are once again mandatory for all public indoor areas in Victoria, except for children under 12, and those with medical exceptions.
  • The list of Victorian exposure sites has grown to 72, while residents in Greater Sydney are awaiting their own case number update.
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Victoria is bracing for news which could nudge the state towards its fifth coronavirus lockdown, after the two new outbreaks in Melbourne prompted the state government to make face masks mandatory indoors.

The Victorian Department of Health registered 11 new cases of COVID-19 in the community over Wednesday, with nine linked to a Maribyrnong apartment block visited by infectious removalists who traveled from Sydney, and two linked to a Hume cluster, connected to a traveller who returned from Sydney on a Red Zone permit.

Ten of those cases were officially counted in Thursday morning’s figures, according to The Age. No new cases were added overnight.

The list of exposure sites swelled to 72 late on Wednesday night, with new Tier 1 sites including a tram departing Footscray station, the Barwon Heads football and netball club 60km north-west of Melbourne, and a McDonald’s restaurant in Craigieburn.

A case also visited level two of the Melbourne Cricket Ground’s Members’ Reserve on Saturday afternoon, during an AFL match between Carlton and Geelong.

Those new cases, alerts, and fears of further community exposure prompted the state government to reinforce mask restrictions in all public indoor areas, including schools and workplaces, for all residents aged 12 and above.

Face masks are once again required for outdoor areas where Victorians cannot ensure 1.5m of space between themselves and others.

Premier Daniel Andrews is expected to front the media in the coming hours.

As the state awaits further announcements, residents across the border are on stand by for the latest numbers from the Greater Sydney outbreak.

NSW counted 97 new locally-acquired cases on Wednesday, bringing the number of cases detected in the community since mid-June to 864.

Health authorities are investigating the source of infection for 36 of those new cases.

71 COVID-19 cases were receiving hospital care as of Wednesday, with 20 in intensive care, and four on ventilators.

As the Greater Sydey region readies itself for another two weeks of lockdown conditions, the Australian Financial Review reports the recent spike in cases, and the escalation of the region’s shutdown period, has driven more residents to seek vaccination.

NSW Health data shows 20,622 doses were administered in the 24 hours to 8pm Wednesday, compared to 12,881 doses delivered on Saturday, June 26, the day Greater Sydney went into lockdown.

Increased vaccination rates are essential to avoid further lockdowns in the future, according to the Australian Retailer’s Association, one of several industry bodies who welcomed new state and federal support measures for businesses and workers impacted by business closures.