Omicron case visited two Melbourne venues

A confirmed case of the Omicron coronavirus variant visited two popular Melbourne nightclubs, forcing hundreds of fellow patrons into isolation before Christmas. 

Victoria’s health department says the positive case, who’s infected with the new variant, attended Sircuit Bar in Fitzroy between 9pm and midnight on Friday and then Collingwood’s Peel Hotel between 11.30pm and 3am.

It is estimated about 410 people were at Sircuit and another 320 were at the Peel Hotel at those times.

All have been deemed close contacts and must get a PCR test immediately and isolate at home for seven days if fully vaccinated, or 14 if not.

Patrons who entered Sircuit from 6pm to 9pm are also being contacted and asked to self-identify if they were there beyond 9pm, with authorities strongly advising them to get tested and isolate until they receive a negative result.

“We’re still learning more about this variant, so we’re taking careful steps to ensure the safety and health of everyone in the community,” the health department said on Wednesday.

Despite the state reporting at least six Omicron cases to date, the Victorian government is weighing up easing restrictions this week.

Under the roadmap, Victoria was due to ditch mask-wearing in retail stores after December 15, in line with NSW settings, unless there was a “significant jump” in hospitalisations.

Hospital cases hit their highest point in almost a month on Tuesday, growing to 364.

Any changes have not been able to be confirmed as the government awaits updated health advice before the state’s first pandemic declaration comes into effect at 11.59pm on Wednesday, replacing the current state of emergency.

When asked whether masks in retail settings and mandatory check-ins could be scrapped under the new framework, Acting Premier James Merlino said Health Minister Martin Foley would make an announcement later this week.


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