Two of Victoria’s 63 coronavirus cases struck out as false positives

Two Covid cases among the 63 in Victoria’s outbreak have been declared false positives by health officials.

The Department of Health issued a statement just before 6pm Thursday saying the cases were a woman who was thought to have caught the virus at a Metricon display house and a man at the Brighton Beach Hotel.

‘Following analysis by an expert review panel and retesting through the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory, two cases have been declared false positives,’ the department said.

The department said positive test results are revisited once initial isolation measures for the person and their close contacts have been established.

‘Cases continue to be reviewed as further information comes to hand,’ health officials said.

‘Once contacts are isolated and public health measures are in place, those cases can be re-evaluated, their test results can be re-run and further investigations can be conducted.’

Close contacts of the two cases and exposure sites linked only with them will be released from quarantine measures – including every exposure site in Anglesea.

However, the Department of Health warned that people, venues, and business affected by the reclassification of the two cases must wait for individual clearance from them or a Local Public Health Unit before dropping isolation precautions.

The Metricon site and the Brighton Beach Hotel are to remain on the government’s list of exposure sites because they are linked to other cases.

The state recorded three new cases of Covid-19 on Thursday, all of them primary close contacts of existing cases.

The results were detected among 57,519 test results received in the 24 hours to Thursday morning, a record for the state.

More than 50,000 people received a Covid-19 vaccine dose, including 23,921 administered at state-run vaccination hubs, which was also a record.

Of those, 6,226 were workers in the aged care, healthcare, or disability care sectors.

The latest infections include an 89-year-old Arcare Maidstone aged care resident, who was transferred to hospital on Wednesday.

Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said he would not be surprised if the outbreak at the facility, in Melbourne’s northwest, grew from the current five cases.

Under eased restrictions for regional Victoria, there will be no limit on how far people can travel and outdoor gatherings of up to 10 will be allowed.

Masks will remain compulsory indoors and outdoors when social distancing isn’t possible.

Schools, retail and hospitality will also be able to reopen.

Last year’s so-called ‘ring of steel’ to enforce the differing restrictions between Melbourne and regional Victoria isn’t coming back, with roving police patrols to be used instead.

Regional businesses will have to check the IDs of customers to ensure they’re not from Melbourne.

Service Victoria QR code check-ins will become mandatory statewide in retail settings such as supermarkets, with businesses required to manually log the visits of people who do not have mobile phones.

Melbourne’s lockdown, meanwhile, is being extended until 11.59pm on June 10 as health authorities scramble to stamp out what they say is a more infectious variant of the virus.

However, year 11 and 12 students will be able to return to classrooms, and some outdoor work such as landscaping and painting can resume from Friday.

Residents will also be able to travel up to 10km from their residence to shop and exercise.

Prof Cheng said he was confident the seven-day extension would be ‘enough’ to contain the outbreak.

It’s expected Melbourne will then move to a similar set of restrictions to that of regional Victoria, with people unable to travel over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced a ‘temporary Covid disaster payment’ for stood-down Victorian workers aged over 17.