Victoria Is Going Into a Seven-Day Lockdown In a Bid to Contain the Northern Suburbs Outbreak
The whole state will revert back to stage four restrictions tonight, which means only leaving home for one of five reasons and staying within five kilometres of your house.
After the first cases were announced on Monday, May 24, Melbourne's latest COVID-19 outbreak has been moving rapidly. On Tuesday, the Victorian Government implemented gathering restrictions and an indoor mask mandate and, today, Thursday, May 27, it's taking the thoroughly expected next step. From 11.59pm tonight, the state will go into a snap seven-day circuit-breaker lockdown, which will see all of Victoria revert back to stage four restrictions from tonight until 11.59pm on Thursday, June 3.
Victorians will be familiar with the rules and restrictions from previous lockdowns — including the last one back in February — but this time you'll be able to leave you home for those five reasons, not just four. The first four are familiar: shopping for what you need, when you need it; caregiving and compassionate reasons; essential work or permitted eduction that can't be done from home; and exercise. As for the last one, you can also now leave to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Exercise must be limited to two hours a day with your household members, your intimate partner or one other person who is not from your household or your partner. Once again, though, Victorians must stay within five kilometres of their homes, unless you're leaving for permitted work or you're shopping for essentials if there are no shops in your radius.
Masks are also mandatory everywhere outside of your home — and private gatherings are banned, as are public gatherings. But, while you can't have any visitors enter your home, there will be single bubbles. So, if you live alone, you can form a bubble with another person.
Weddings are not permitted, unless on compassionate grounds, while funerals are limited to ten.
And, regarding vaccinations, the state is also rolling out the vaccine to everyone over the age of 40 from Friday, May 28. Victorians aged between 40–49 years will be able to access to the Pfizer vaccine via the state's vaccination sites.
The announcement comes as Victoria now has 34 active COVID-19 cases, including 12 new cases identified in the 24 hours to midnight last night. Genomic sequencing indicates that current outbreak is linked to a positive case out of hotel quarantine in South Australia from earlier in May. At the time of writing, since the first new cases in this cluster were reported on Monday, 79 locations are currently listed as exposure sites by Victoria's Department of Health — a list that has been growing quickly.
When Melbourne reentered stay-at-home orders in February, the lockdown came to an end after the allocated five-day period. Last August, though, the same restrictions remained in place for six weeks, before slowly easing from mid-September. That said, during the August lockdown, Victoria was recording in the realm of 671 new COVID-19 cases in a 24-hour period.
Acting Premier James Merlino advised the current situation has been complicated by the fact that the state is "dealing with a highly infectious strain of the virus, a variant of concern, which is running faster than we have ever recorded". He continued: "from first thing this morning, we have identified in excess of 10,000 primary and secondary contacts who will need to either quarantine, or test and isolate, and that number will continue to grow and change. Our public health experts' primary concern is how fast this variant is moving. We've seen overseas how difficult that movement can be to control."
All of Victoria will revert back to stage four restrictions from 11.59pm on Thursday, May 27 until the same time on Thursday, June 3. For more information about the rules, head to the Victorian Department of Health website.
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