Victoria announces 7-day state wide lockdown from midnight on Thursday

Victoria announces 7-day state wide lockdown from midnight on Thursday

Victoria

The Victorian government has announced a 7-day state wide, circuit breaker lockdown from midnight on Thursday, in an effort to curb the growing coronavirus outbreak.

Victoria’s COVID-19 outbreak has now reached 26 cases, with 12 linked new cases recorded in the state overnight. This includes one case that was previously announced on Wednesday. There are now almost 80 exposure sites listed by Victorian health authorities and 1 person is in ICU on a ventilator.

There are only five reasons Victorians can leave their home: to go shopping for essential goods and services, authorised work or permitted education, exercise with one other person for two hours, care giving, compassionate and medical reasons, and to get vaccinated.

If you leave your home to go shopping, or to exercise, you need to stay within 5km of your home, unless your nearest shops are further away. There will be no visitors to homes beside an intimate partner. If you live alone, you can make a bubble with one other person. There are no visitors allowed to aged care facilities, except in for some specific circumstances.

Schools will move to remote learning, except for vulnerable children and children of authorised workers. Childcare will remain open.

Victoria’s Acting Premier James Merlino said health authorities are concerned about “just how fast this variant is moving” and “how contagious it is”.

Merlino said the vaccine rollout is “not where we hoped it would be”.

“If we make the wrong choice now, if we wait too long, this thing will get away from us,” he said.

Merlino announced that people aged between 40 and 49 in Victoria are now eligible to received the Pfizer vaccine, and are encouraged to book in to get their vaccination as soon as they can.

Currently, there are 29 aged care facilities across Victoria that are yet to receive any vaccines from the federal government.

Despite this, Minister for Aged Care Richard Colbeck said he was “very comfortable” with the vaccine rollout.

“They should be done in the next few days. We’ve prioritised those. We’ve been working our way obviously across the country,” he told Nine.

“They were programmed to be done this week or next week, so we’ll get those finalised as quickly as we can.”

Prior to the lockdown announcement, Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp said in a statement that the lockdown will have great impact on city businesses, especially without any JobKeeper support from the federal government.

“JobKeeper has ended so a lockdown now will have potentially even greater impacts on our city businesses,” Capp said.

“I urge everyone in the community to do the right thing every day to stop the spread of this virus.

“I encourage the Victorian Government to take into account the plight of our business community in their decision-making and provide support commensurate with the length of any lockdown.”

Merlino said he was aware this would be tough for businesses and events, given it is the first lockdown in the state since the end of JobKeeper. He confirmed the Victorian government would announce more information about providing support for businesses in the coming days.

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