Three new cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) were confirmed yesterday and overnight – bringing the total number of cases in Victoria to 21.

The 19th case is a man in his 50s who returned to Melbourne from Seattle on March 7 at 7am on Virgin Australia flight VA24.

The flight manifest of VA24 is being obtained to begin contact tracing passengers in the same and adjacent rows.

After he arrived home, the man became unwell on March 7 with lethargy and dry cough, developing flu-like symptoms a few days later. He is now recovering in home isolation.

Three close contacts, including two children, are being provided support and education and monitored closely for signs and symptoms of illness. All are self-isolating at home for 14 days.

Prior to being diagnosed he visited the Mussel and Jazz Festival at South Melbourne Market on March 7 between 2 pm and 3:30 pm. Later that day he attended a Rugby Union match between the Rebels and Lions at AAMI Park where he sat in section 9. 

Both cases 20 and 21 were on flights from the USA which have had confirmed COVID-19 cases in passengers this week (UA60 and QF94). Both cases are recovering in home isolation and acquired the virus in the USA.

The Department of Health and Human Services is continuing to contact passengers on both flights UA60 and QF94.

The 20th case is a woman in her 20s who has recently travelled to multiple locations in the United States. She became unwell on February 29, shortly after returning to Melbourne on the same day.

The Department is contacting the woman’s close contacts today and providing them with further information. Those close contacts will self-isolate for 14-days. 

The 21st case is a man in his 50s who became unwell on March 7, one day after arriving in Melbourne.

The man worked at Yeshiva-Beth Rivkah College for half a day whilst infectious on March 9. As a result, the school has been closed today as a precautionary measure while contacts can be identified and provided with advice.

A number of students from the college are also being tested, with results due today. The Department is working closely with the school and Department of Education and Training to support students, parents and staff to ensure that all contacts are identified and the appropriate action is taken. 

For the virus to spread, extended close personal contact is most likely required. But visitors to locations where cases have been should be aware of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Close personal contact is at least 15 minutes face-to-face or more than 2 hours in the same room.

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services has a hotline for public information on COVID-19 which is 1800 675 398. Large numbers of calls will result in some delays and we ask Victorians for their patience as we work to manage the volume. Further information is also available at https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/novelcoronavirus

Media inquiries

Tim Vainoras, Department of Health & Human Services Media Unit,

Phone: 03 9096 8860

Mobile: 0418 519 642

E-mail: tim.vainoras@dhhs.vic.gov.au