Victoria to enter ‘circuit breaker‘ lockdown for seven days from midnight tonight

Victoria to enter ‘circuit breaker‘ lockdown for seven days from midnight tonight

Melbourne in lockdown 2020. Photo by Jojo Seriña

There will only be five reasons to leave home.

The Victorian deputy premier, James Merlino, says a stay-at-home order will be imposed on the entire of Victoria from 11.59pm tonight in a bid to curb the state’s growing coronavirus outbreak.

The state’s outbreak has now reached 26 active cases, with 11 new cases recorded overnight and more than 70 exposure sites revealed, including the MCG and Docklands stadium. Exposure sites added last night included cafes and businesses across Melbourne’s south-east and the Mornington Peninsula, adding to the sites across the city’s north and west.

“There will only be five reasons that you are permitted to leave your house and only if you really have to. Food and supplies. Authorised work. Care and caregiving. Exercise, for up to two hours and with one other person. And getting vaccinated.

“In the last day, we’ve seen more evidence we’re dealing with a highly infectious strain of the virus, a variant of concern, which is running faster than we have ever recorded.

“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.”

Merlino said the restrictions would give contact tracers the chance to track down the virus, and also urged anyone eligible for the current phases of the vaccine – everyone over the age of 40 as well as people who work in certain critical industries or have co-morbidities – to get a vaccine.

“There are millions of Victorians eligible to be vaccinated,” he said. “People should not wait. We note that the path through this pandemic is the successful rollout of the Commonwealth’s vaccine program and is an alternative quarantine hub, but there are things that people can do right now.”

The key takeaways

  • Victoria to re-enter circuit breaker lockdown
  • There will only be five reasons to leave home
  • The lockdown will run from 11:59pm tonight until 11:59pm on June 3

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The Victorian lockdown action will begin from 11:59pm tonight until 11:59pm on June 3, and will see Victoria return to the circuit breaker lockdown format.

Circuit Breaker Restrictions include:

  • Alongside only the five reasons to leave home, exercise and shopping will be limited to 5km from your home and face masks will need to be worn indoors and outdoors and no visitors will be allowed in homes other than an intimate partner.
  • Public and private gatherings will not be permitted.
  • Single bubbles will be permitted. If you live alone, you can make a bubble with another person.
  • If you can work from home, then you must work from home.
  • Schools will close and move to remote learning except for vulnerable children, and children of authorised workers.
  • Childcare and early childhood centres will remain open.
  • Higher education is closed, move to remote learning.
  • Restaurants, pubs, and cafes can provide takeaway only.
  • Essential retail, so supermarkets, food stores, petrol stations, banks, bottle shops and pharmacies, other retail stores can provide click and collect.
  • Approved professional sporting events will proceed but proceed without crowds.
  • Community support and recreation, accommodation will close, but there will be some exemptions that apply.
  • Hotels, clubs, TABs and the casino will be closed, indoor and outdoor entertainment venues, swimming pools, spas, saunas, indoor and outdoor springs, community venues, drive in cinemas, amusements parks, creative studios, art galleries and museums, tourism, tours, and transport, and auctions can only happen online.
  • Religious activities will not proceed other than through broadcast with a maximum of five people.
  • Weddings are not permitted unless on compassionate grounds.
  • Aged care facilities, no visitors except for limited reasons.
  • In terms of ceremonies, funerals, a maximum of 10 people plus those running the service.
  • In hospitals, visitors only for end of life, to support a partner during birth, or a parent accompanying a child. In terms of ceremonies, funerals, a maximum of 10 people plus those running the service.

Victoria last entered a five-day circuit breaker lockdown back in February, when the virus escaped hotel quarantine and infected 13 people.

This latest announcement follows meetings of health officials and senior ministers held into the night as the Melbourne cluster continued to grow overnight. As the state held its breath for these announcements, Victoria recorded its biggest single-day of vaccinations after news broke of the state’s latest cluster: 15,858 people received a jab on Tuesday, compared to a daily average of 6,286 for the previous week.

Mr Merlino said Victoria was looking to extend eligibility for vaccines.

“We were looking at how we can expand the eligibility for vaccinations. And we’ve been doing that work and we’ve got advice from public health, and from the Department of Health,” Mr Merlino said.

“From tomorrow morning, vaccinations at state sites will be expanded to include those in the 40 to 49-year-old age group, for the Pfizer vaccine.

“In terms of GPs, that will be a decision of the Commonwealth, but in terms of the state sites that we run, we’ll be expanding it to 40 to 49.”

Mr Merlino swiped at the Commonwealth for not addressing the vaccine rollout sooner.

“If we had an alternative to hotel for this particular variant of concern, we would not be here today.

“If we had the vaccine, the Commonwealth’s vaccine program effectively rolled out, we may well not be here today.”

Visit the Premier’s website for more information.