Victoria records 14 new local cases as exposure sites near 400

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Victoria has recorded 14 new local cases of coronavirus as the nation’s medical regulator approved the Pfizer vaccine for children aged 12 to 15.

Ten of the 14 were in quarantine throughout their entire infectious period, with one yet to be interviewed by health authorities. All of the new cases are linked to the current outbreaks.

Melbourne’s Prahran Market closed for a deep clean on Thursday. Credit:Jason South

Unusually, the department has not released the number of tests processed on Thursday but revealed 14,302 Victorians received a COVID vaccine.

Nine hundred people were forced into isolation on Thursday after Prahran Market was listed as a tier-1 site. There are now 393 exposure sites across Victoria.

A 7/11 in Chadstone and a Bunnings in Carrum Downs were added to the state government’s list of tier-2 exposure sites late on Thursday.

More than 3000 primary close contacts of a positive case who attended the Carlton and Geelong game at the MCG will undergo day 13 day COVID tests on Friday. If they test negative, they will be released from home quarantine on Saturday.

COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar said on Thursday the health department was also beginning tests for residents of the Ariele apartment building, which was visited by the COVID-positive removalists from NSW.

He said those who were tier-1 close contacts could only leave isolation once they had been contacted by the department.

“As you come close to your day 13 test, you will be reminded by us, but please come forward and get those tests done so we can then get your negative test result and get you released from your isolation period,” Mr Weimar said.

Overnight, Australia’s medical regulator approved the use of COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 12 to 16 overnight.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said on Friday morning if approved by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI), vaccines for children over 12 who have pre-existing health conditions could be fast-tracked.

“If ATAGI gives the second green light… immuno-compromised and kids with underlying medical conditions [will be] immediately added to the phase 1B [of the rollout and] able to access Pfizer,” he said on Sunrise.

“It’s good news and additional protection for those kids with underlying health conditions.”

Mr Hunt reiterated he believed people under 40 years of age would be vaccinated by September or early October.

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