Covid Victoria: Regions plunged back into lockdown

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Regional Victoria will join Melbourne in lockdown as the state's latest Covid outbreak worsens and the Delta variant spreads to the regions. 

From 1pm Saturday, the regions will enter the same restrictions as Melbourne with the sole exception of the curfew. Regional Victoria will not be under curfew, Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Saturday.

"This virus has made its way from Sydney to New Zealand, for heaven's sake," he said.

"We therefore shouldn't be having any of these debates about whether the whole of country Victoria is at risk. The judgement of our public health experts is that it should be a statewide lockdown.” 

Daily cases surged on Saturday with 61 new cases recorded plus a further 16 cases to be included in Sunday's numbers

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews struck an ominous tone ahead of the weekend. Source: Getty
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews struck an ominous tone ahead of the weekend. Source: Getty

Health authorities are working to contain an outbreak in the regional town of Shepparton in the north of the state after 12 cases were reported there on Friday. The additional 16 cases announced this morning to be included in Sunday's figures were also detected in Shepparton, Mr Andrews revealed. 

The outbreak exploded after a man in his 30s infected 11 other members of his family across two households.

There is also concern about an infected person who then travelled to Bendigo.

"Sadly the public health team have advised that given the Shepparton outbreak and the fact that at least one person travelled to Bendigo, and potentially others travelled beyond, that is to say there is a very significant risk of transmission right across regional Victoria," the premier said.

Mr Andrews said the risk was not simply confined to the Goulburn Valley area and a statewide lockdown, at this stage until September 2, was the only option.

New childcare changes announced for lockdown 

Mr Andrews also announced tighter controls around childcare on Saturday, saying it will be restricted to essential workers only

As part of the restrictions, all childcare centres in the state will offer its services only to parents who are essential workers whose children cannot be supervised at home.

"We will move to a permit system where only authorised workers will be able to send their kids to childcare and those who have vulnerable children," Mr Andrews said.

"We will work through all the details of that over the course of the weekend."

with AAP

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