Melbourne, Australia, set for 4th lockdown as cluster grows

Pablo Tucker
May 27, 2021

The state will kick off a seven-day lockdown at midnight tonight as Melbourne battles a fresh COVID-19 outbreak.

The "circuit-breaker" is created to allow contact tracers to get on top of cases, with residents permitted to leave home only for essential reasons including getting vaccinated.

The 5 km travel limit will also be reimposed for exercise and shopping, as will compulsory use of masks indoors and outdoors.

Schools will move to remote learning, except for vulnerable children and children of authorised workers. Cafes and restaurants will be able to offer take-away only.

Melbourne, the country's sporting capital, has more than a dozen professional teams competing in top flight leagues, and all faced disruption and schedule changes.

Hipkins said the pause on travel would be kept under review.

He said Victoria might not be facing another lockdown had the federal government's vaccination rollout happened properly. One person is in intensive care on a ventilator.

Dr Bloomfield has implemented new rules under the Health Act regarding anyone who was in Melbourne from 20-25 May.

Some local residents rushed to get jabbed Thursday, as the state opened up mass vaccination hubs to people aged 40-49 for the first time.

"Make yourself a plan to do that today, and get it done", he said.

"We are considering whether further restrictions should be put in place".

Health authorities have also identified more than 100 potential exposure sites, including Marvel Stadium, Melbourne Cricket Ground, and a number of bars.

The Victorian infections have been linked through genomic sequencing to the case of a Melbourne man who contracted the virus while quarantining in South Australia, before travelling to Victoria where he tested positive.

An official SA report released on Wednesday found it likely he caught the virus through aerosol transmission due to the "close timing of doors opening and closing" from an adjacent room with an infected guest.

Prior to the lockdown, Victoria had on Tuesday at 6 p.m. reinstated restrictions in response to the Whittlesea outbreak. Face masks will be mandatory in indoor and outside public spaces.

There are now 23 active cases in the entire state, including people in hotel quarantine.

Victoria's Acting Premier James Merlino confirmed the move at a media conference on Thursday morning.

Public broadcaster ABC reported vaccines were yet to be delivered to nearly 30 aged care homes in the state, despite hundreds dying when the virus swept through the facilities a year ago.

Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania have all closed their border to Victoria, or parts of the state, as well.

Anybody who had been in one of the locations of interest in Victoria couldn't travel to NZ for at least 14 days after they had been at the location, Hipkins said.

There will be five reasons to leave the house during that week.

"If things worsen and the (travel) bubble isn't reinstated then we will look to get some kind of travel exemption... so we will see how the week plays out", Rebels boss Baden Stephenson told Australian Associated Press.

In Perth, testing is being imposed on Victorian arrivals.

The form is to check if border crossers have attended a venue of concern.

Other reports by iNewsToday