Victorians are being sent into another hard lockdown in a bid to try and get the upper hand on the state’s latest coronavirus outbreak.
From 11:59pm tonight, all of Victoria will enter a snap lockdown for five days.
It means people will only be allowed to leave their homes for four reasons, including shopping, care and caregiving, exercise and work, if it is essential.
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There have been five new COVID-19 cases in Victoria in the past 24 hours, including three cases reported on Thursday afternoon.
It takes the total number of virus infections linked to the Holiday Inn outbreak to 13.
Premier Daniel Andrews admitted the news will be tough to swallow for all Victorians.
“I won’t waste words… today hurts,” the Premier said. “Victorians know, better than anyone, just how deeply.
“But as we’ve seen here in Australia, and around the world, we are facing a new kind of enemy. A virus that is smarter, and faster, and more infectious… And until we have a vaccine, we need to do everything we can to keep this virus at bay.”
He said that by going hard and going early “we’re giving ourselves every opportunity to get in front of this.”
“This is a short, sharp blast, the same as we’ve seen in Queensland and WA, that will give us what we need to get ahead of this faster moving virus,” Premier Andrews said.
“This is our opportunity, our brief window, to starve the virus of what it wants most – Movement.
“By limiting our movement, we limit the potential spread of the virus,” he said.
Stage Four restrictions will remain in place until 11.59pm Wednesday, meaning face masks will once again be mandatory both outdoors and indoors.
Exercise and shopping will be limited to five kilometres from home, and all home visitors have been banned along with public gatherings.
Childcare and kinders will remain open, however, school students will be required to learn from home, unless they need onsite supervision as the children of essential workers.
Gyms, pools, community centres, entertainment venues and libraries will also close, along with all non-essential retail, while cafes and restaurants will only be able to offer take-away.
Funerals will be able to go ahead with up to ten people, however, weddings will need to be postponed.
Premier Daniel Andrews urged all Victorians to stay strong.
“I know today will be hard. Likely, tomorrow will be even harder,” he said.
“But remember, no one else in the world – anywhere – has achieved what we have.
“And just as we had the courage and conviction to win this war before – we can do it again.”