'It will explode': Melbourne extends Covid lockdown

·News Editor
·3-min read

Melbourne will extend its coronavirus lockdown by seven days as the state battles to drive down new cases. 

The lockdown was due to end tomorrow at 11.59pm, however it will extend through next week with some small changes announced.

The lockdown in regional Victoria is still expected to ease tomorrow as planned. 

Victoria reported six new cases on Wednesday, taking the state's local cases since last Monday to 60.

Acting Premier James Merlino told reporters the state was dealing with a variant of the virus that is "quicker and more contagious than we have ever seen before".

Mr Merlino said vaccinations were the best way to stop the virus, but only two per cent of the population had been fully vaccinated. 

"If we let this thing run its course, it will explode," he said.

"We've got to run this to the ground because if we don't, people will die."

Changes to current Melbourne lockdown rules

Mr Merlino said from 11.59pm on Thursday there would still only be five reasons to leave home – shopping for food and supplies, authorised work and study, caregiving, exercise and to get vaccinated.

However he announced there would be some changes to the current restrictions:

  • People can travel 10km instead of 5km for exercise and shopping

  • Students in years 11 and 12 will return to face-to-face learning

  • Some outdoor jobs will commence, including landscaping, painting and installing solar panels or letterboxing

People walk through Bourke Street Mall in Melbourne.
Melbourne will extend its coronavirus lockdown. Source: Getty

Mr Merlino said he hoped to slowly ease restrictions in Melbourne after the seven days, but there would continue to be differences between the settings in Melbourne compared to regional Victoria.

He added with the Queen's Birthday long weekend looming, Melburnians would not be allowed to travel to regional Victoria.

"The risk of exporting this virus is just too high," he said.

"We do want to ease restrictions in regional Victoria."

Changes to lockdown in regional Victoria

Mr Merlino said current restrictions are still expected to be eased in regional Victoria from 11.59pm tomorrow as planned.

The changes that will come into effect in regional Victoria from tomorrow at 11.59pm include:

  • Outdoor gathering limits increasing to 10

  • There will be no limit on the distance you can travel from your home

  • You can leave for reasons other than the five in place currently

  • Food and hospitality will be open for seated service only

  • Retail can open and personal services such as beauty and tattooing will resume

  • Religious gatherings and ceremonies permitted for 50 people 

  • A limit of 10 people for weddings

  • A limit of 50 people for funerals

  • Junior outdoor community sport will return and adults can again train outdoors

People in regional Victoria will only be able to travel to Melbourne for a permitted reason and they must follow the Melbourne restrictions once in the city. 

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 05: A medical practitioners take information from members of the public at a drive through testing clinic in the carpark of Victoria Gardens Shopping Centre on May 05, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. The Victorian Government has set up additional COVID-19 testing clinics across Melbourne in a bid to test up to 100,000 people in two weeks. Victorians with even the mildest symptoms are being asked to go get tested, as the state pushes to stop the further spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Tough restrictions on movement and gatherings remain in place across Victoria despite a decline in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases across Australia. All non-essential businesses remain closed or are restricted in operation, while public gatherings are limited to two people and social distancing measures require people to keep a safe 1.5m distance from one another. All international arrivals into Australia are being sent to mandatory quarantine in hotels for 14 days. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)
Restrictions in regional Victoria are still expected to ease. Source: Getty

Victoria's six new cases

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said of the new cases, one was linked to Stratton Finance, and has been in quarantine for their entire infection period.

Another case was linked to the Brighton Beach Hotel.

A third infection was a Victorian man who travelled to Jervis Bay in NSW with his family, and his spouse and two children have also tested positive. 

The children attended North Melbourne Primary School and the school has closed while contact tracing is underway. 

All exposure sites are listed on the Department of Health and Human Services website

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