Dozens of positive cases linked to CFMEU protests as Victoria records 1420 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths

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Dozens of Victorians infected with COVID-19 have been linked to the violent protests outside the CFMEU’s Melbourne headquarters last month.

Victorian CFMEU state secretary John Setka, who was the target of some of the vitriol, said on Wednesday morning it was “absolutely unforgivable” that the protesters had caused a coronavirus superspreader event.

“Personally, I think [the protesters] don’t care,” he said. “I mean, it’s a pretty tragic set of circumstances where … dozens of kids and families have now been infected because of their reckless, moronic actions,” he told the Today show.

Mr Setka said he had tested negative for the virus and was relieved he didn’t spread it to his elderly parents, but the situation was “just terrible”.

Union officials were still reviewing footage from the protests, but Mr Setka said some people who caused damage to the headquarters were members and would have to front up to the executive.

“They’ll have to answer for their actions and in some of the cases, in some of the footage that I’ve seen, they’ll probably be expelled … from the union,” he said.

Mr Setka said objects thrown during the protests could have “taken someone’s eye out”.

“It’s a bit sad and for these misguided individuals to be sucked in by some of these other morons is even more disturbing,” Mr Setka said.

Victoria recorded 1420 new local coronavirus cases and 11 deaths on Wednesday, taking the state’s total active cases to 14,410.

The daily case numbers are a significant drop from the national record of 1763 reported on Tuesday, but the number of deaths is the highest reported this year.

More than 36,542 people rolled up their sleeves for a COVID-19 jab on Tuesday, and 71,451 test results were processed.

Residents of the Latrobe Valley returned to the same coronavirus restrictions as the rest of regional Victoria on Wednesday after their seven-day lockdown lifted at 11.59pm on Tuesday.

The region recorded nine new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, however, Premier Daniel Andrews said “we feel that we have a good understanding of that outbreak”.

As of Tuesday, there were a total 67 active cases in the Latrobe Valley.

“I’m very grateful to everybody across Latrobe city for the contribution they’ve made,” Mr Andrews said.

“It’s never easy to be forced into a lockdown but the strategy has worked.”

Meanwhile, authorities identified a number of new COVID-19 exposure sites late on Tuesday evening, including childcare centres and a library in regional Victoria.

Only About Children at Camberwell was declared a tier-1 or close contact exposure site on Wednesday, September 22 between 7.45am and 5.45pm, and on Monday, September 27 between 8am and 6pm.

Swan Childcare centre at Derrimut was declared tier-1 on Thursday, September 30 between 9am and 5.45pm, and on Friday, October 1 between 9am and 5.45pm.

The Nathalia library in northern Victoria was declared a tier-1 site on Thursday, September 30 between 9.30am and 5.30pm, and on Friday, October 1 between 9.30am and 1pm.

Anyone who attended the childcare centres or the library during those timeframes must get tested for COVID-19 and quarantine for 14 days from the exposure date, regardless of whether they receive a negative test result.

Officials announced on Monday they would stop publishing tier-2 or casual contact sites, with Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton saying: “We have to focus our efforts on where we’ll get the most bang for buck, the greatest efficiency and effectiveness of contact tracing.”

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