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New restrictions announced for Greater Melbourne as coronavirus cluster grows

Victorian health authorities have found one new locally acquired case of coronavirus and announced a raft of new restrictions for Greater Melbourne.

From 6pm AEST on Tuesday, private home gatherings will be limited to five people per day, public gatherings will be limited to 30 people, and everyone aged 12 years and older will need to wear face masks indoors, unless an exemption applies.

Acting Premier James Merlino said the newest case, a man in his 60s, is linked to one of the four identified on Monday among a family in Melbourne’s north.

Mr Merlino said the new restrictions were based on public health advice.

“This is about giving our contact tracers the time they need to track this matter down and get on top of it,” he told reporters in Melbourne on Tuesday.

Under the revised restrictions, schools and workplaces will stay open and people who live in Greater Melbourne can still travel to regional Victoria.

However, the rules will accompany them when they leave Greater Melbourne, meaning they will still need to wear a mask indoors and the person they visit will only be allowed five visitors to their house that day.

Victorian health authorities have now also identified more exposure sites in Melbourne, which can be found on the state government’s website.

Anyone who has attended any of the “tier one” sites at specific times must get tested and isolate for 14 days.

Health Minister Martin Foley said authorities expect the list of exposure sites to grow in the coming days.

The family cluster – involving a man in his 30s, a man in 70s, a woman in 70s and a pre-school-aged child from three households in the Whittlesea area – emerged on Monday.

Mr Merlino said genomic sequencing has confirmed the infections are linked to exposure sites visited by a Victorian man who contracted coronavirus in South Australian hotel quarantine.

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said on Monday the first man that tested positive had a high viral load and warned the community to brace for more possible cases.

“We have to ready ourselves for any other positives, and when there are close contacts who do become positive, that raises the possibility that even a casual contact could become positive as well,” he said.