- Snap lockdown for Melbourne and Victoria will begin at midnight tonight
- Comes as two new cases from the MCG were reported
- Will be Melbourne's fifth lockdown since the pandemic began
Amid a growing cluster, Melbourne and regional Victoria are to enter a snap lockdown tonight, after two new local cases were reported, meaning there are now 16 active cases linked to the current outbreak.
This will be the third lockdown for the city this year and fifth overall.
With Sydney still in lockdown, this will be the second time more than 10 million Australians have been in lockdown simultaneously this year.
Victorians are once again required to wear masks in all indoor areas, excluding private homes – recently, workplaces and secondary schools were exempt from this rule.
“This will be a hard lockdown, similar to or identical to, what we did a couple of weeks ago,” Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said.
“If you are authorised to work then, you will be authorised to work now. If you were close then, you will be closed now.
“It is essentially a repeat of the successful strategy from couple of weeks ago.”
Daniel Andrews, Victorian Premier
“That was successful then and this will be successful now.”
There will be five reasons to leave home – the same as the previous lockdowns but now including getting vaccinated. The 5-kilometre rule applies.
Unsurprisingly, house inspections are not allowed to occur and auctions can only be held remotely.
A gentleman from the Ariele apartment complex in Maribyrnong – which had been visited by infected removalists from New South Wales – attended an AFL game at the MCG this weekend where the two new cases have been acquired from.
30,000 people attended the game, with 2,000 considered to be “close contacts”. Three schools have also closed in the past 24 hours.
As recent as this morning, reports suggested that senior government officials felt a lockdown was unlikely. However, this view has since changed.
In light of the situation, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced increased Commonwealth payments to individuals and businesses will be applicable from week two of a lockdown – originally, it was set to kick in after four weeks.
“I will be putting to National Cabinet tomorrow … a new, we think, streamlined set of financial supports for states and territories going forward,” he said.
“When we look at what’s been occurring and what may occur … we have to set up rules that apply right across the country.”
Scott Morrison, Prime Minister
The assistance will also be exempt from the liquid assets tests, which would previously exclude those with more than $10,000 in cash or other liquid assets from receiving the payment.
There have been calls for a targeted JobKeeper scheme, however, Mr Morrison conceded that this would be too difficult to target state-by-state.
“When we introduced JobKeeper, we had to do it nationally. We understood that people, as many as five million Australians, could find themselves out of work, with no income, within weeks.”
“We’re not confronted with that now.”
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) announced today that unemployment is under 5% for the first time since December 2010, although underemployment increased with house worked nationally decreasing by 1.8% between May and June.
More to come…