james merlino
Mr Merlino announced the hard lockdown at a press conference this morning. Image – Facebook.
  • Comes as number of local cases has doubled in the past 24 hours
  • Victorians will have five basic reasons to leave home
  • 10,000 primary and secondary cases have been linked to the cases

With case numbers in Melbourne growing – the number of local cases doubling in the past 24 hours alone – the Victorian Government has announced a hard seven-day lockdown, beginning at 11:59 pm tonight.

The news comes after restrictions were enforced across Greater Melbourne on Tuesday. Victoria last went into a snap lockdown back in February.

So far, 10,000 primary and secondary contacts have been linked to the cases.

Under the hard lockdown, Victorians will only have five reasons to leave home:

  • Food and supplies – one person per household per day
  • Authorised work
  • Care and caregiving
  • Exercise – for up to two hours, and
  • Getting vaccinated

Exercise and shopping will be limited to within a five-kilometre radius, and schools are to be closed except for children of authorised workers and vulnerable kids.

In terms of property and real estate, house inspections will not be allowed and auctions will have to be held remotely.

Acting Premier James Merlino added that though the restrictions will remain in place until 11:59 pm on 3 June, he has not ruled out it could end sooner. However, this seems unlikely given that the particular strain of the virus – the B1.617.1 Indian variant – is spreading at an alarming rate.

“And in just 24 hours, the number of cases has doubled,” said Mr Merlino.

“It means that although these cases are all connected, this variant of the virus is making people more infectious, more quickly… places like Taiwan that have gone from no or very low cases to skyrocketing numbers in the space of just days and weeks – and now are struggling to get it under control.”

James Merlino, Acting Victorian Premier

Mr Merlino concluded his remarks by strongly reiterating calls for those eligible to get vaccinated.

“It’s clear – more than ever – this virus isn’t going away. And vaccines are the only way we’ll ever get back to normal. Without full vaccination, this virus will just keep mutating – and just keep making its way back in.”

According to Mr Merlino, all Victorians over 40 years of age will be eligible for the vaccine from tomorrow, dependent upon supply from the Federal Government.

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