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Sydney attempts to pinch sporting events from Victoria amid COVID-19 crisis

New South Wales has made a bold bid to relocate some of the state’s most famous and lucrative sporting events as Victoria contends with a second wave of COVID-19.

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro made a pitch to move the AFL Grand Final, slated for October 24, the Australian Open and even the Melbourne Cup.

While authorities in Victoria were quick to shut down the suggestion, Mr Barilaro said NSW is simply offering their support to do what is best for Australia.

‘Some of these events aren’t just about Victoria they’re actually about putting a spotlight on Australia,’ Mr Barilaro said.

Under Mr Barilaro's proposal, the AFL Grand Final would be played in front of a crowd at ANZ Stadium rather than the MCG, where they risk not being able to have any fans if the second outbreak continues to ravage the city. Pictured: 2019 Grand Final

Under Mr Barilaro’s proposal, the AFL Grand Final would be played in front of a crowd at ANZ Stadium rather than the MCG, where they risk not being able to have any fans if the second outbreak continues to ravage the city. Pictured: 2019 Grand Final

Just in the last 24 hours, police have issued 119 fines to people breaking lockdown rules in Melbourne. Pictured: People get in their government-mandated exercise at the Botanic Gardens in Melbourne on Sunday

Just in the last 24 hours, police have issued 119 fines to people breaking lockdown rules in Melbourne. Pictured: People get in their government-mandated exercise at the Botanic Gardens in Melbourne on Sunday

Just in the last 24 hours, police have issued 119 fines to people breaking lockdown rules in Melbourne. Pictured: People get in their government-mandated exercise at the Botanic Gardens in Melbourne on Sunday 

‘If Victoria can’t host them, the reality has to be that these continue on and I’m saying NSW could host almost all of them.’

Under Mr Barilaro’s proposal, the AFL Grand Final would be played in front of a crowd at ANZ Stadium rather than the MCG, where they risk not being able to have any fans if the second outbreak continues to ravage the city.

Metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire have been thrust back into a six week lockdown in an attempt to stem the spread of coronavirus.

Victorian AFL teams have already been forced to relocate due to the threat of the virus, and Mr Barilaro said planning should already be well underway for the main event.

The tennis Australian Open, which doesn't begin until early 2021, would move to Sydney Olympic Park

The tennis Australian Open, which doesn't begin until early 2021, would move to Sydney Olympic Park

Pictured: Sofia Kenin with the trophy at the 2020 Australian Open

Pictured: Sofia Kenin with the trophy at the 2020 Australian Open

The tennis Australian Open, which doesn’t begin until early 2021, would move to Sydney Olympic Park

A man in his 70s has died and another 273 cases of coronavirus have been identified in Victoria overnight as the state is gripped by a second wave of the disease

A man in his 70s has died and another 273 cases of coronavirus have been identified in Victoria overnight as the state is gripped by a second wave of the disease

A man in his 70s has died and another 273 cases of coronavirus have been identified in Victoria overnight as the state is gripped by a second wave of the disease

Premier Daniel Andrews has issued a plea to all Victorians to follow the latest lockdown rules, as the state recorded 273 new cases and another death

Premier Daniel Andrews has issued a plea to all Victorians to follow the latest lockdown rules, as the state recorded 273 new cases and another death

Premier Daniel Andrews has issued a plea to all Victorians to follow the latest lockdown rules, as the state recorded 273 new cases and another death

The tennis Australian Open, which doesn’t begin until early 2021, would move to Sydney Olympic Park, while the Bledisloe Cup for rugby union, slated for Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium on August 8, could be held at Bankwest Stadium. 

Given the COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria, Mr Barilaro also suggested NSW should be given the right to host the Melbourne Cup.

The race that stops the nation will go ahead in November – and sources from Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’ office confirmed it would remain in Melbourne.

‘The planning is months in advance, not just weeks,’ Mr Barilaro said.

‘I’d hand over the Melbourne Cup to Peter V’landys any day of the week because he’ll know how to put on a show that’ll make even the Victorians proud.’

The race that stops the nation will go ahead in November - and sources from Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews' office confirmed it would remain in Melbourne

The race that stops the nation will go ahead in November - and sources from Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews' office confirmed it would remain in Melbourne

The race that stops the nation will go ahead in November – and sources from Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’ office confirmed it would remain in Melbourne

There are 237 cases linked to public housing blocks in Flemington and North Melbourne

There are 237 cases linked to public housing blocks in Flemington and North Melbourne

There are 237 cases linked to public housing blocks in Flemington and North Melbourne

In spite of the pandemic, racing in Victoria has never stopped – even though public attendance has been limited or banned since late March.

While the Deputy Premier admitted it would be ‘difficult’ to pinch, he proposed it could be played in Newcastle, where the appropriate infrastructure is already set up.

Melbourne Fashion Week could be held on Cockatoo Island, Mr Barilaro suggested.

The proposal comes as contagion numbers in Victoria continue to grow. On Sunday, a further 273 new cases of COVID-19 were identified and a man in his 70s died.

The reimposed lockdown measures in parts of the state mean people can only leave their homes for four essential purposes – groceries, daily exercise, to give or receive care and to go to school or work.  

Mr Andrews implored people to follow those orders, telling the public on Sunday it was currently a ‘very dangerous’ situation.

‘This is a dangerous time,’ he said.

While the Deputy Premier admitted the Grand Prix would be 'difficult' to pinch, he proposed it could be played in Newcastle, where the appropriate infrastructure is already set up

While the Deputy Premier admitted the Grand Prix would be 'difficult' to pinch, he proposed it could be played in Newcastle, where the appropriate infrastructure is already set up

While the Deputy Premier admitted the Grand Prix would be ‘difficult’ to pinch, he proposed it could be played in Newcastle, where the appropriate infrastructure is already set up

‘This is a very challenging time, and I know we are asking a lot of Victorians, but we simply have no choice but to acknowledge the reality that we face and to do what must be done, and that is to follow those rules, to only go out when you need to, and to only go out for the purposes that are lawful,’ Mr Andrews said.

Meanwhile New South Wales could also be contending with a potential second outbreak.

Nine cases have now been linked to The Crossroads Hotel in Sydney’s south-west – five patrons who attended the venue in Casula on July 3, and four of their close contacts.

Sunday’s four new cases include an 18-year-old pub employee who had worked on July 3.

He continued to work for ‘several days’ after he was exposed to the virus.

A close contact in her 50s, plus a woman in her 40s and a Victorian man in his 20s, who both dined at the venue, were on Sunday confirmed as new cases.

Melbourne Fashion Week could be held on Cockatoo Island, Mr Barilaro suggested

Melbourne Fashion Week could be held on Cockatoo Island, Mr Barilaro suggested

Melbourne Fashion Week could be held on Cockatoo Island, Mr Barilaro suggested

Defence force staff at the RAAF base in Wagga Wagga were placed in lockdown after some visited the pub in Casula

Defence force staff at the RAAF base in Wagga Wagga were placed in lockdown after some visited the pub in Casula

Defence force staff at the RAAF base in Wagga Wagga were placed in lockdown after some visited the pub in Casula

Nine cases have now been linked to The Crossroads Hotel in Sydney's south west - five patrons who attended the venue in Casula on July 3, and four of their close contacts

Nine cases have now been linked to The Crossroads Hotel in Sydney's south west - five patrons who attended the venue in Casula on July 3, and four of their close contacts

Nine cases have now been linked to The Crossroads Hotel in Sydney’s south west – five patrons who attended the venue in Casula on July 3, and four of their close contacts

Just a kilometre away from the pub, Planet Fitness Casula was forced to close on Sunday for a deep clean after a member tested positive for COVID-19.

It is unclear at this stage whether the case is related to the pub outbreak.

‘The member has not been at the club since Friday, 10 July and is in quarantine,’ Planet Fitness said in a statement on Sunday.

‘Additionally, our team members are in self-quarantine as instructed by their doctor, as a precaution because of contact with the patient. Currently, the team members are reporting no symptoms.’

Meanwhile, defence force staff at the RAAF base in Wagga Wagga were placed in lockdown after some visited the pub in Casula.

No cases have been confirmed at the base.

Under Mr Barilaro's proposal, the AFL Grand Final would be played in front of a crowd at ANZ Stadium rather than the MCG, where they risk not being able to have any fans if the second outbreak continues to ravage the city. Pictured: 2019 Grand Final

Under Mr Barilaro's proposal, the AFL Grand Final would be played in front of a crowd at ANZ Stadium rather than the MCG, where they risk not being able to have any fans if the second outbreak continues to ravage the city. Pictured: 2019 Grand Final

Under Mr Barilaro’s proposal, the AFL Grand Final would be played in front of a crowd at ANZ Stadium rather than the MCG, where they risk not being able to have any fans if the second outbreak continues to ravage the city. Pictured: 2019 Grand Final

A cleaner dressed in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) leaves the Crossroads Hotel in Sydney's south west

A cleaner dressed in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) leaves the Crossroads Hotel in Sydney's south west

A cleaner dressed in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) leaves the Crossroads Hotel in Sydney’s south west 

New cases extend Victoria public housing tower lockdown 

Residents of one of Melbourne’s public housing towers recently released from ‘hard’ lockdown have been forced back into their apartments after a spate of new coronavirus infections.

There are 237 COVID-19 cases linked to the Flemington and North Melbourne estates.

A woman living at 120 Racecourse Road, Flemington told AAP a family who tested positive for the virus prior to the five-day lockdown have since been seen outside their flat, mixing with others, going to McDonald’s and travelling to neighbouring Footscray.

She said a teenager in the family attends Al-Taqwa College, a large school in Truganina linked to a huge outbreak.

The woman says she saw health authorities speaking with the family on Friday night, reminding them to isolate at home.

The Department of Health and Human Services also called her on Friday to let her know she had been in close contact with a different resident who tested positive to the virus. She was told to quarantine for two weeks.

The woman shares a small flat with her family and cannot isolate in her room, so she was told to wear a mask at all times, including when sleeping.

‘Just thinking about it, I’m about to go crazy,’ she said.

A young father in the same building received a positive test result on Friday, having waited to find out since his test on Monday.

By the time he received the result at midday, he had already left his apartment, spoke to police and fellow residents and bought a coffee.

He has shut himself in a bedroom, interacting with his wife and children via Facetime.

The DDHS asked him to isolate in a hotel but he preferred to be at home.

The department declined to comment on specific cases for privacy reasons but said there were strict procedures in place to protect the public when a person tests positive.

‘All close contacts are identified and notified that they need to self-isolate and seek testing,’ a spokesman said.

The Flemington building was one of nine public housing towers to be put into a strict lockdown from July 4 to 9.

Eight of the towers reverted to stage three restrictions on Thursday, while residents of Alfred Street North Melbourne remain in self-quarantine.

Meanwhile, another 28 cases were recorded at a public housing tower in Carlton.

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the pandemic had not yet reached its peak and authorities were throwing ‘absolutely everything at it’.

The state recorded 273 new cases on Sunday and another death.

There are now 1484 active cases of COVID-19 in Victoria, with 57 people currently in hospital with the virus and 16 of those in intensive care.

*The two residents who spoke to AAP did not wish to be named.

 

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