Millions of Melburnians are being urged to monitor for symptoms of the coronavirus after viral fragments were detected in a “large wastewater catchment” that services the city’s northern, western and eastern suburbs.
More than five million people live in Melbourne and about three million of these are residing in those areas.
Traces of COVID-19 have also been detected in another wastewater catchment in Melbourne’s south east.
In a statement, the Department of Health said the “unexpected detections” could be due to a person or persons with the virus being in the early active infectious phase.
Or it could be because they were continuing to shed the virus after the infectious period, they said.
“While it is possible that these detections are due to a visitor or visitors to these areas who are not infectious, a cautious approach is being taken,” the statement read.
People who live in or have visited the following areas should monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and get tested if any develop:
- North, west and eastern suburbs from 4 to 12 April. This detection is in a very large catchment that services suburbs stretching from Melbourne’s northwest to the outer northeast.
- Cranbourne and surrounding suburbs from 6 to 12 April
These two new detections come after residents in about 16 suburbs were warned earlier in the week about similar wastewater discoveries.
“Coronavirus fragments have been detected in wastewater from the Ringwood area,” the Victorian Department of Health said in a statement just before 6pm on Tuesday.
The east Melbourne suburbs affected include Bayswater, Bayswater North, Boronia, Croydon, Croydon North, Croydon South, Heathmont, Kilsyth, Kilsyth South, Montrose, Ringwood, Ringwood East, Sassafras, The Basin, Tremont and Wantirna.
Victoria has only recently started accepting international arrivals again, with a new hotel quarantine scheme bolstered in a bid to stop the virus leaking out into the community.
Victoria has been notified of five new cases of coronavirussince Wednesday, all in returned overseas travellers in hotel quarantine.
There are no new locally acquired cases of COVID-19.
Victoria has recorded no locally acquired cases for 48 straight days.
The five new cases included an international aircrew member aged in their 20s, a woman aged in her 20s, a man aged in his 20s and two young children.
All the new cases arrived on international flights into Melbourne on 12 and 13 April.
There are eight active cases across Victoria, all currently in hotel quarantine.
To find out whether you live in or have visited one of the listed suburbs you can check the map at dhhs.vic.gov.au/wastewater-testing-covid-19