WorkSafe has launched an investigation into a COVID-19 outbreak at Cedar Meats in Melbourne’s west after three more cases raised the total linked to it to 88.
A spokesman for the authority confirmed it will be investigating Cedar Meats after three previously confirmed infections were linked to the Brooklyn abattoir on Wednesday.
The probe will examine whether social distancing measures were in place at the abattoir and if workers were provided with appropriate personal protective equipment and hand sanitiser.
The state government and Cedar Meats’ management have defended their handling of the outbreak, including the decision to allow staff to work for several days after workers tested positive.
It comes as another cluster continues to grow in the city’s north.
Three more infections have been linked to McDonald’s Fawkner, bringing the total number of cases linked to the fast-food restaurant to six.
That number could rise as test results for 92 workers continue to come back.
The restaurant has reopened following a deep clean and is being staffed by workers from surrounding outlets, a McDonald’s spokesperson confirmed.
Meanwhile, a worker at a poultry processor has also tested positive to the virus.
Health authorities did not name the facility but said it was an isolated case. The business is not an abattoir and contact tracing is under way.
Victoria’s coronavirus count stands at 1514, with seven new cases confirmed on Wednesday.
It comes as Victorians started enjoying their new freedoms with many parks, reserves, beaches and historic sites reopened for day trips.
As part of the state’s relaxing of coronavirus restrictions, people can also host up to five family members or friends at home.
Outdoor groups cannot be larger than 10, social distancing must still be observed and overnight stays remain off the cards.
Major tourist drawcards including the Twelve Apostles, however, remain closed.
Schools will also start going back from May 26, with all grade levels expected to be back in class from June 9. But Jobs Minister Martin Pakula has warned life cannot go back to normal yet.
“What we’re not saying at this stage is it’s OK for everyone to just go back to doing things that they did before,” he said on Wednesday.
“The last thing we want to do is to reopen everything too quickly and then have a yo-yo effect where you open things up and then close things down.”
Pakula unveiled a $150 million package to help the state’s tourism, sport and creative industries survive.
Of that, $40 million will go towards community sport and recreation clubs, and $16 million to national sporting organisations and professional clubs.
Thoroughbred, greyhound and harness racing will receive a total of $44 million, with the bulk of the money going towards the latter.
Tourism will be given $11 million and creative industries $32 million.
Just two fines for breaching social distancing restrictions were issued in Victoria over the past 24 hours.
The sharp drop follows new rules requiring police to get approval from a supervisor first.
VICTORIAN TOURISM DRAWCARDS STILL CLOSED
- Twelve Apostles
- St Kilda Pier – penguin viewing area closed
- Werribee Park – mansion tours closed
- Buchan Caves Reserve – visitor centre, cave tours, camping area closed
- Wonthaggi State Coal Mine – cafe, underground tours are closed
- Princess Margaret Rose Caves
- Point Nepean Tunnels
- Serendip Sanctuary
- William Ricketts Sanctuary
(SOURCE: Parks Victoria)
By Benita Kolovos and Georgie Moore