Deputy Premier of Victoria James Merlino has announced that Victoria’s snap seven-day lockdown will be extended for another week for residents in Greater Melbourne. The update comes as the state recorded six new cases overnight, bringing the cluster to 60.
“We have right now 60 cases and over 350 exposure sites and a variant of the virus that is quicker and more contagious than we have ever seen before,” Merlino told reporters on Wednesday afternoon. “The best way to stop this virus is via vaccination but, as we know, only 2 per cent of our population is fully vaccinated. If we let this thing run its course, it will explode.
“We’ve got to run this to ground because, if we don’t, people will die. And if that happens, it’s our most vulnerable — it’s our parents, it’s our grandparents, it’s Victorians with underlying conditions or compromised immunity, it’s those Victorians — who will pay the price. In the end, this is about saving lives.”
Currently, people in Victoria are only allowed to leave home for five reasons: shopping for necessary goods and services, authorised work or permitted education, exercise (a two-hour limit with one other person), care giving, and to get vaccinated. No visitors are allowed at homes (other than an intimate partner), and public gatherings are also off the cards. Restaurants, pubs and cafes can only stay open for takeaway. And masks must be worn everywhere. For shopping and exercise, you must stay within five kilometres of your home.
These restrictions will stay in place for those in Greater Melbourne, however those in regional Victoria will be able to move around freely with some lesser restrictions still in place. Gatherings are no longer to limited to two people in regional Victoria, food and hospitality will be open for seated services only with a cap of 50 people per venue, retail can open and personal services such as beauty and tattooing can resume. Weddings will be capped at 10, while funerals will allow 50 mourners.
It comes after New South Wales recorded no new locally acquired cases of Covid-19 after a positive case from Melbourne sparked a series of health alerts. The person in question visited a number of places on the south coast during visits on May 23 and 24.