Victoria will be plunged into its fourth lockdown as the daily COVID-19 cases reach double digits and will be “uncontrollable” unless drastic action is taken.
The City of Whittlesea cluster has continued to grow over the past three days and the high-risk exposure site list has almost reached 80 locations.
On Thursday, Acting Premier James Merlino said the state is “dealing with a variant of concern that is running faster than we’ve ever recorded.”
From 11.59pm on Thursday, the entire state will go into a seven-day lockdown with only five essential reasons to leave home.
These reasons are work or education, caregiving, food and supplies, exercise for two hours and to go and get vaccinated.
The five-kilometre radius will also return and residents cannot leave their homes past that boundary, unless for an emergency or if essential services are not on their radius.
Food shopping is limited to one person per household and daily exercise has a limit of two hours with one other person.
Masks must be worn everywhere that is not a person’s home, unless an exemption applies.
Weddings will not be allowed to go ahead and funerals are capped at ten people.
Childcare and kindergarten will remain open, but schools will close to everyone except the children of authorised workers and vulnerable kids.
From 11.59pm on Thursday, public and private gatherings are no longer allowed, but the single bubble is returning and visiting intimate partners is allowed.
Cafes and restaurants will be take-away only and gyms, hairdressers, community facilities and entertainment venues will all close.
The lockdown will be in effect until 11.59pm on June 3, but Merlino said areas of it could be lifted earlier.
The five essential reasons
– Shopping for essential goods or services;
– Work or study if you can’t from home;
– To get vaccinated;
– Seeking or giving care; and
– For exercise for two hours per day with one other person
Double digit cases
On Thursday, the Health Department confirmed there were twelve new cases in the 24 hours up until midnight – one was announced but not included in the official figures yesterday while the other eleven are newly reported cases.
The new cases are all linked to the City of Whittlesea outbreak and it brings the total of the cluster to 26.
There are 34 active cases in Victoria.
During Thursday’s press conference, Merlino said a Victorian with coronavirus has been placed in intensive care and is on a ventilator.
He said “they are not in a very good way”.
Victoria entered its last lockdown on February 12 for five days, after the virus escaped hotel quarantine and infected 13 people.