Melbourne Storm in relocation talks after Victorian virus outbreak

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor
Cameron Smith and the Melbourne Storm in action in Round 5. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

The Melbourne Storm may be forced to move their next home game to Sydney after an outbreak of coronavirus cases in Victoria.

Victoria recorded 44 new coronavirus cases over the weekend, as top medical officials call for a lockdown of six areas identified as coronavirus hotspots.

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Health Minister Jenny Mikakos confirmed there were 1847 cases in the state after five were removed due to duplication, making it a net increase of 11 cases on Monday.

The NRL is now considering shifting Friday’s clash between Melbourne and the Warriors.

It is believed the Storm may have to relocate their home game away from AAMI Park to Sydney.

“The NRL and Melbourne Storm are closely monitoring the situation in Victoria in response to the increase in positive COVID-19 tests in recent days,” the Storm said in a statement on Monday.

It comes after Essendon AFL player Conor McKenna tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday.

Six coronavirus hotspots in Victoria

Victoria’s COVID-19 case numbers are now the highest they've been in more than two months after six days of double-digit growth.

“Of the 16 new cases (on Sunday), six are linked to known outbreaks, four are detected in hotel quarantine, five have been detected through routine testing, and one is under investigation,” Ms Mikakos said.

“We currently have nine patients in hospital, including two in intensive care.”

It comes as the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee on Sunday urged residents who live in six coronavirus hotspots not to leave their suburbs.

The panel of chief health officers strongly discouraged travelling to and from Brimbank, Cardinia, Casey, Darebin, Hume and Moreland until community transmission is curbed.

It said Victoria had accounted for 83 per cent of new coronavirus cases recorded in Australia in the past week.

Victorian Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos speaks to the media. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Jeff Springfield, the mayor of Cardinia Shire Council, which is centred on Pakenham, south-east of Melbourne, said he only found out about the travel advice when he was contacted by media on Sunday.

“We haven't received any further information at this point beyond the announcement from the AHPCC,” he told 3AW Radio.

Mr Springfield said he would meet with health authorities on Monday and praised Cardinia residents for following directions.

Victorian health authorities have said more than half of the new cases since the end of April have come from family members spreading it to their relatives.

The sharp increase in coronavirus cases in the last week forced the state government to announce a step back in restrictions easing that would have come into effect on Monday.

From Monday, Victorians will only be able to have five people at their homes and gatherings outside the home will be restricted to 10.

Gyms, cinemas, indoor sports centres and concert venues will be allowed to reopen but with a 20-person limit.

Cafes, restaurants and pubs were set to expand their number of patrons from 20 to 50 on Monday, but that is now on hold.

with AAP