Victoria’s mystery case who attended the Chadstone Shopping Centre and Australia-India Test has been linked to NSW’s northern beaches cluster.
Premier Daniel Andrews, returning from leave ahead of Friday’s national cabinet meeting, said genomic sequencing has confirmed the case is connected to Sydney’s outbreak.
“It’s from Sydney,” he told reporters on Thursday.
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“Exactly how it got from Sydney to here, that is less clear.
“That’s pleasing because it means that there’s not a third group or fourth strain that’s made its way in here.”
Contact tracers are yet to establish whether there is a link to that mystery case and the 27 others from the Black Rock cluster.
The Vermont South man in his 30s is feared to have caught the virus either at Chadstone Shopping Centre on Boxing Day or the second day of the Test at the MCG the day after.
It’s the first case of unknown transmission in Victoria since early November.
Thousands of shoppers and cricket spectators have answered the call to get tested as officials scramble to nail down the source of the man’s infection.
From 32,767 swabs processed in the 24 hours to Thursday, there were no new local, interstate or overseas acquired cases.
Tracing the source of the mystery case has been described by the state’s COVID response commander Jeroen Weimar as a “needle in a haystack exercise”.
There was a 30,000-strong crowd at each day of the Australia-India Test in Melbourne.
As many as 8000 people seated in zone five of the Great Southern Stand on the afternoon of December 27 have been asked to get tested and isolate until they return a negative result.
Thousands of shoppers who went to 10 Chadstone stores at specific times on Boxing Day have been told to do the same.
The infected man had not visited NSW or any high-risk exposure sites linked to Melbourne’s Black Rock cluster, which remains at 27 cases.
He was at a Christmas Eve function with someone from NSW, although Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said that person had not reported feeling unwell.
“It’s most likely we have another cluster going on,” he said.
The case is not believed to be linked to a COVID-positive Boost Juice staffer at Chadstone who last worked on December 29.
The man first developed symptoms on December 30 and had self-isolated at home from New Year’s Eve before getting tested on January 3.
His positive result came back on Tuesday.
Prof Cheng said the decision to list Chadstone and the MCG as possible infection sites was a “cautious” one.
The man’s close contacts are more likely to be the missing link in the transmission chain.
“He has had a number of contacts outside of just private contacts in private houses,” he said.
“I would think they are going to be probably more likely.”
© AAP 2021