Victoria Deputy Prime Minister James Merlino has announced that Victoria’s seven-day lockdown will be extended for an additional week for residents of the greater Melbourne area. The update comes as the state registered six new cases overnight, bringing the cluster to 60.
“We currently have 60 cases and over 350 exposure sites and a variant of the virus that is faster and more contagious than we’ve ever seen before,” Merlino told reporters on Wednesday afternoon. “The best way to stop this virus is to get a vaccination, but as we know, only 2 percent of our population is fully vaccinated. If we let this thing take its course, it will explode.
“We have to get to the bottom of this because if we don’t, people will die. And when that happens, it’s our most vulnerable – it’s our parents, our grandparents, it’s Victorians with underlying diseases or immunity, it’s these Victorians – who pay the price. Ultimately, it’s about saving lives. “
Currently, people in Victoria are only allowed to leave their homes for five reasons: shopping for necessary goods and services, approved work or permitted education, exercise (two hours with another person), care, and vaccination. No visitors are allowed in the home (other than an intimate partner), and public gatherings are also prohibited. Restaurants, pubs and cafes are only allowed to remain open to take away. And masks have to be worn everywhere. You must be within three miles of your home for shopping and exercise.
These restrictions remain in place for those in the greater Melbourne area, but those in the Victoria area can move around freely, with some minor restrictions still in place. Gatherings are no longer limited to two people in the Victoria area, food and hospitality will only open to seating services with a limit of 50 people per venue, retail stores can open, and personal services such as beauty and tattoos can resume. Weddings are capped at 10 while funerals allow 50 mourners.
It comes after New South Wales saw no new locally acquired cases of Covid-19 after a positive case from Melbourne sparked a string of health warnings. The person concerned visited several locations on the south coast during visits on May 23rd and 24th.