Australia's Victoria state says next 24 hours critical as COVID cluster grows

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But the worsening situation in Victoria means the Suns-Hawks game in the Northern Territory is set to be canned. It's understood Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast is now an option to host the AFL game.

The AFL is yet to finalise its re-jigged plans for the match.

Port Adelaide players and staff that travelled to Melbourne last weekend have returned negative COVID-19 tests and were cleared to return to training, the club confirmed on Thursday.

The Bombers and the Blues flew out of Melbourne on Wednesday, several days earlier than planned.

Anyone who attended the reserve between noon and 5pm must get tested urgently and isolate until they receive a negative result.

The Melbourne Cricket Ground was added to a growing list of coronavirus hotspots after an infected person was among the crowd of some 23,400 who attended an AFL game at the stadium on Sunday.

Thousands of people across Melbourne were already self-isolating after positive cases attended dozens of locations including two separate Aussie Rules football matches, a series of nightclubs and a medieval battle re-enactment.

Victoria's health department issued text messages to supporters seated in the vicinity of the positive cases, classifying them as close contacts and advising them to get tested.


Essendon players acknowledge their fans after the round 10 match against North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium.

Any returning residents leaving Victoria after this time will need to fill out an online declaration form at least 24 hours before travel and travel directly to the residence where they will spend the stay-at-home period.

"We've seen overseas what happens if this thing gets away", he said.

With a total of 26 cases now linked to a recent outbreak and 34 active cases in the state, government health authorities had to make a tough decision which has had a flow-on affect for the AFL this weekend and possibly for the next few weeks.

A Bulldogs staff member visited a shopping centre when it was a coronavirus-exposed site.

The match - which was originally scheduled to be played on Saturday night - will be rescheduled later in the season.

"It is a bit of a throwback in a sense (to 2020), but we're sort of well versed and well prepared", he said on Wednesday.

Also under pressure over failing to meet initial vaccine delivery targets - with about 3.7 million vaccination doses administered so far in a population of 25 million - the government has pledged additional batches will be sent to Victoria in the coming weeks.

These new cases are linked to the four initial infections reported on Monday, and all carry the Indian variant of the virus, which is "at least as infectious" as the United Kingdom variant.

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