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Prisons across Victoria in lockdown due to COVID-19 as NSW and Queensland look to increase crackdowns

Prisons and a major retailer are the latest to feel the impact of Victoria’s second coronavirus wave.

Six prisons across the state are confirmed to be in lockdown after an officer tested positive for COVID-19.

The guard worked at Ravenhall Correctional Facility, which was placed into lockdown along with Hopkins Correctional Centre, Langi Kal Kal, Barwon Prison, Fulham and Loddon.

A Department of Justice and Community Safety spokesperson says the officer had been self-isolating since July 16 after being notified they were a close contact of a positive case.

The news of the prison lockdowns comes as David Jones’ Chadstone Store was forced to close on Tuesday after a staff member tested positive for the virus.

The team member last worked in the store on July 13 and is currently isolating, a David Jones spokesperson said.

A deep clean will be done in the prisons and the department store, and contact tracing is under way for both cases.

Six prisons across the state are confirmed to be in lockdown after an officer tested positive for COVID-19.
Camera IconSix prisons across the state are confirmed to be in lockdown after an officer tested positive for COVID-19. Credit: JAMES GOURLEY/AAPIMAGE

Meanwhile, cases in aged care homes continue to grow, with cases linked to St Basil’s Homes for the Aged in Fawkner quadrupling to 51 since Monday and 42 cases to Estia Health in Ardeer.

Thirty-one cases are now linked to Glendale Aged Care facility in Werribee and 17 infections have been traced to Embracia Aged Care Moonee Valley in Avondale Heights.

The growing number of cases in both staff and residents at nursing homes comes as three women in their 80s, 90s and one over 100 were confirmed to have died from the virus.

Two of the women were residents of aged care facilities where outbreaks have occurred.

The total number of coronavirus deaths in Victoria is 42 and the national toll is now 126.

The state recorded 374 new cases on Tuesday, with 3078 cases active and 174 people in hospital, 36 of whom are in intensive care.

At 11.59pm on Wednesday, a rule requiring residents of metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire must wear a mask or face covering when leaving home will come into effect.
Camera IconAt 11.59pm on Wednesday, a rule requiring residents of metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire must wear a mask or face covering when leaving home will come into effect. Credit: DAVID CROSLING/AAPIMAGE

At 11.59pm on Wednesday, a rule requiring residents of metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire must wear a mask or face covering when leaving home will come into effect.

People in the locked-down areas who do not wear a mask when outside their residence for one of the four allowed reasons could face a $200 fine.

States look to increase virus crackdowns

States are weighing up further measures to crack down on the spread of coronavirus out of Victoria, as health officials wait to see if lockdowns will again squash case numbers.

NSW is urging people to wear masks where social distancing isn’t possible, such as on public transport or in office building lifts.

But Premier Gladys Berejiklian has stopped short of making face coverings mandatory, as they will be in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire from Thursday.

“This can get away from us very quickly, which is why I’d rather everyone do the right thing now while we can still be in a position to control the spread,” she said.

The state will toughen its border restrictions on people wanting to enter from Victoria from Wednesday.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has stopped short of making face coverings mandatory, as they will be in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire from Thursday.
Camera IconNSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has stopped short of making face coverings mandatory, as they will be in Melbourne and Mitchell Shire from Thursday. Credit: JAMES GOURLEY/AAPIMAGE

To the north, Queensland is considering expanding its blacklist of NSW virus hotspots.

The move comes after two women were caught trying to smuggle a man with no entry permit across the Queensland border.

Victoria recorded another 374 cases on Tuesday and three more people died.

NSW confirmed 13 new cases, just one of whom was in hotel quarantine.

Most of the cases were linked to growing clusters at an outer Sydney restaurant and pub.

In Tasmania, officials reported a woman in hotel quarantine after visiting Victoria had tested positive.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd said everyone had hoped there would be a drop in new Victorian cases over the first few weeks of the renewed lockdown, as with the earlier restrictions in March and April.

“We have got to wait and watch just for another few days to see what happens and see if we do actually turn down the curve with those numbers,” he said.

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