Victoria records 733 Covid cases after violent protests

Victoria records 733 Covid cases and one death as fears mount that cases could explode after violent protests in the city

Victoria has registered 733 new local Covid cases as fears mount that the violent protests in Melbourne could be a super-spreading event.

One Covid-related death was also recorded on Friday, the health department confirmed.

Protesters who attended the third day of recurring protests in Melbourne have been encouraged to get tested as a fellow mob member battles COVID-19 in hospital.

Victoria’s health department has confirmed that a person is being treated in hospital after attending Wednesday’s sometimes violent gathering.

“Public health investigations are underway,” a spokesman said in a statement Thursday afternoon.

“We urge protesters to get tested if they experience COVID-like symptoms, no matter how mild.”

The infection will be included in Friday’s official file.

The COVID-positive protester was among a crowd of 400 to 600 that flooded the Victorian capital on Wednesday, despite stay-at-home orders and repeated warnings from authorities.

Singing “every day” from the Shrine of Remembrance, hundreds without masks, some still wearing high-visibility clothing, marched through the city to the war memorial.

Members of the riot police fired tear gas and other non-lethal rounds as rioters became increasingly hostile and refused to leave, injuring two officers and making 215 arrests.

The demonstrations initially started against the mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for the construction sector and the closure of tea rooms on the construction site, but have since grown into greater unrest.

A fourth day of the planned protests was a non-event, with protesters largely not showing up on Thursday, despite flagging potential meeting places.

Police attacked the protesters before they could gather in large numbers, resulting in 92 arrests.

Meanwhile, stranded Victorians who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will soon be allowed to return from Greater Sydney.

From September 30, double-dose Victorians trapped anywhere in NSW can come home if they test negative 72 hours before departure, home isolate for 14 days and be tested at the start and end of the quarantine.

Victoria registered 766 new infections on Thursday – the highest daily number of COVID-19 cases on record – and four deaths, taking the toll from the latest outbreak to 20.