Qantas and Virgin cancel flights in and out of Melbourne

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Dozens of flights to and from Melbourne today have been cancelled following a rise in COVID-19 case numbers.

Qantas and Virgin have cancelled flights into and out of Melbourne after 11 new cases were announced today, bringing the total number of cases associated with the cluster in the city’s north to 26.

The state has been plunged into a seven-day “circuit-breaker” lockdown to begin at midnight tonight and due to remain in place until 11.59pm on June 3.

Meanwhile, other states remain on high alert after more than 70 exposure sites were identified, which have been visited by interstate travellers.

The airlines will directly contact any customers impacted by changes to flights, including Melbourne services.

Dozens of travellers lined up at the check-in counter to board flights before the state-wide lockdown comes into effect.

Announcing the lockdown on Thursday, Acting Victorian Premier James Merlino said residents would only be able to leave home for five essential reasons.

They include exercise, which is limited to two hours and groups of two, going to work, care giving and medical reasons, buying food and essentials, or being vaccinated.

‘The vaccine is our only tickets out of this,’ Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley said.

‘It is the one thing Victorians can do to help us get out of this.’

More than 10,000 primary and secondary contacts have been identified, with thousands of Victorians swarming to testing facilities across the state.

Meanwhile, Health authorities are on high alert with fears virus could have infiltrated NSW after some sports club members visited Victoria last weekend.

Gladys Berejiklian says NSW authorities are monitoring Victoria’s COVID-19 outbreak ‘very closely’ amid fears it could have crossed the border after people from a NSW sporting club visited one of the exposure sites last weekend.

‘I’m worried about the evolving situation and of course, we’ll watch closely to see what the Victorian government announces this morning,’ the premier told Nine yesterday.

The Victorian Health Department has listed 79 exposure sites listed on its website, spread across more than 30 Melbourne suburbs and regional Bendigo, Cohuna and Red Hill.

‘We don’t have any intention of closing the borders at this stage, but of course, we are very, very concerned with what’s going on,’ Ms Berejiklian said.

Members of the Tooleybuc Sporting Club in the NSW Riverina, who could have been exposed to COVID-19 while attending an event at regional Cohuna in Victoria on Saturday, have been told to self-isolate.

‘A few NSW teams were there, so we’re watching the evolving situation very closely, making sure that everybody who has been exposed …. gets tested and isolates until further notice, Ms Berejiklian said.

The NSW government has advised people against travelling to Melbourne and Bendigo and Ms Berejiklian also asked people in Victoria not to rush to NSW.

‘Can I please urge anybody who is intending to get in their car and try and beat the lockdown, please think about your fellow citizens, please be safe, please know your actions can really harm so many others.’

NSW is edging towards administering 1.2 million vaccinations, with the premier urging more people to come forward for the jab.

‘What’s happening in Victoria is a wake-up call. We don’t know what’s around the corner,’ she said.

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