Victoria to enter snap seven-day lockdown

  • Victoria to enter snap seven-day lockdown

Victoria to enter snap seven-day lockdown

Schools across the state will close for the duration of the lockdown, as will non-essential retail stores, dining-in service at restaurants and cafes, pools, gyms, hairdressers, beauty services and cultural and entertainment venues such as cinemas, tourism and art galleries.

"We've seen overseas how hard that movement can be to control".

Researchers say they were unable to find any other possible route of transmission, having checked staff hygiene procedures, contact between rooms, and the air conditioning system.

The state's contact tracers have identified more than 10,000 primary or secondary contacts who will need to isolate.

The seven-day lockdown for Melbourne and the rest of Victoria state comes after a new cluster in the city rose to 26 infections, including a person who was in intensive care. The other clear element is the infectiousness of the virus.

Infections peaked at 725 new cases in a single day in August at a time when community spread had been virtually eliminated elsewhere in the country.

Most of those cases are linked to a man in his 60s who fell sick on May 17.

'If more people were vaccinated, we might be facing a very different set of circumstances than we are today.

The lockdown will be in place until June 3. All other students will move to remote learning.

The state counted a further 12 locally-acquired cases of COVID-19 overnight, bringing the recent cluster to 26 people.

Visitors to aged care facilities will be banned except for limited reasons, while visitors to hospitals will be restricted to those supporting a partner during birth, a parent accompanying a child, or end of life reasons. Those in Greater Melbourne must wear a face mask indoors.

Queensland has asked its residents to reconsider all travel to Victoria, especially Melbourne, and anyone who has been in the City of Whittlesea since May 11 will be refused entry.

Health Minister Martin Foley said that the patient in ICU was one of the first cases from the outbreak and an "elderly person".

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

Health Minister Greg Hunt added that first vaccine doses were now being delivered to the remaining aged care homes in Victoria, where hundreds died when the virus swept through the facilities past year.

That figure should now increase with Merlino announcing on Thursday that every Victorian aged 40 to 49 would be immediately eligible for the Pfizer vaccine, while those aged over 50 would still be offered the AstraZeneca vaccine.

'People have got the message that if you are eligible to be vaccinated, please come forward and get vaccinated, ' he said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison batted away the criticisms, saying "no system is foolproof" and pointing to Australia's comparatively successful coronavirus response globally.