Victoria will go into another 7-day lockdown from midnight as the latest COVID-19 cluster grows to 26

Victoria is being locked down, again. (Chris Putnam, Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
  • Victoria will enter a seven-day lockdown from midnight Thursday, in response to a worrying new outbreak of COVID-19 within the community.
  • “Unless something drastic happens, this will become increasingly uncontrollable,” Acting Premier James Merlino said.
  • The state counted a further 12 locally-acquired cases of COVID-19 overnight, bringing the recent cluster to 26 people.
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The state of Victoria will be plunged into yet another lockdown from midnight Thursday, after state health authorities identified a further 12 locally-acquired cases of COVID-19 linked to Melbourne’s latest outbreak.

Speaking in Melbourne Thursday morning, Acting Premier James Merlino said a seven-day lockdown will begin at 11.59pm Thursday, in an attempt to limit the virus’ spread through the community.

“Unless something drastic happens, this will become increasingly uncontrollable,” Merlino said.

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

There will be five permitted reasons to leave the home: shopping for essential goods within 5km of home, authorised work and education, caregiving, exercise with a two-hour limit, and trips to get vaccinated.

Full details on which businesses will be allowed to operate are expected in the coming hours, but gyms,

“Restaurants, pubs, and cafes can provide takeaway only,” Merlino said.

Schools will move to remote learning, excluding vulnerable children and the children of authorised workers.

Masks are mandatory in all indoor and outdoor areas, excluding the home.

Public gatherings will not be allowed.

Weddings are not permitted, unless there are end-of-life or deportation concerns.

A maximum of ten people may attend funerals, while religious ceremonies will be barred, excluding live-streams which involving a maximum of five people.

Pre-approved sporting events will be permitted to continue, albeit without crowds.

In response to the new outbreak, Victoria will also accelerate its state-run vaccination program, with those over 40 years old now free to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at state vaccination hubs.

Those aged between 40-49 are now free to call the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398 to book a jab.

12 new cases bring cluster to 25 people

Victorian health officials announced 12 new locally-acquired cases Thursday morning, including one which was reported yesterday, but did not form part of Wednesday’s figures.

The additions bring the number of people in Victoria’s latest cluster to 26.

All of those cases are linked, Merlino said.

One of those cases is on a ventilator in an intensive care unit, he added.

The list of exposure sites has grown to 79 locations, including the Port Melbourne headquarters of Stratton Finance, Duke Gym in Abbotsford, and Anytime Fitness in Bundoora.

Victorians have been urged to check the list. Anyone who visited a Tier 1 site at the times and dates listed must seek COVID-19 testing immediately and remain isolated for 14 days from the date of their exposure.

Some 10,000 primary and secondary contacts of those confirmed cases have been identified, with that cohort required to quarantine or test and isolate.