Snap lockdown quashes outbreak in Melbourne; fans poised to return

Henrietta Brewer
February 18, 2021

Victoria's snap five-day lockdown is due to end but the state is still waiting to hear whether virus restrictions will be lifted.

"There is pain and difficulty in we've acknowledged that we will make announcements in good time about the people who are doing it tough, but the urgent nature and the rapid nature of these decisions speaks to the rapid infectivity of this virus and nothing more that".

Victoria's five-day lockdown was announced last week amid fears the highly-infectious United Kingdom strain of COVID-19 had spread from the Holiday Inn quarantine hotel at Melbourne Airport into the community.

Premier Andrews said, despite the lockdown coming to an end, there will still be some restrictions in place for the next nine days.

"We will see more development, and our absolute expectation and hope is that will be within the primary close contact field, the 3,500 people we've got locked down", he said.

"Restrictions will come off, nearly all of them, at midnight tonight", Mr Andrews confirmed on Wednesday.

Victoria recorded two new locally acquired cases of Covid-19 and two infections in hotel quarantine yesterday, bringing the number of active cases to 25.

An update on the state's intake of returned travellers will be provided "later in the week", he said.

Victoria is now considering a purpose-built quarantine facility. "We're going to finish up with people being able to move freely because this short and sharp circuit-breaker lockdown has worked".

"That is exactly what we said we needed and exactly what we said would work".

Meanwhile, two locations were added to the list of exposure sites overnight - Sacca's Fruit World and BonBon Bakery, both in Broadmeadows Central shopping centre.

As a result of the conclusion of the lockdown, the five-kilometre limit for leaving home will be abolished.

Australia has reported a total of just under 29,000 Covid-19 cases and 909 deaths, with border closures and speedy tracking systems helping keep numbers relatively low compared with other developed countries.

Venues like gyms, pools, community centres, libraries, cinemas, amusement parks and nightclubs will also be allowed to reopen. "What they are doing is not wanting to be identified".

The total number of active cases in Victoria now remains at 25.

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