All of Victoria is being plunged into a snap five-day lockdown as the state struggles to contain an outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed the lockdown will begin at 11.59pm on Thursday and end at 11.59pm next Tuesday, given all goes well.
It means residents will only be allowed to leave their homes for five essential reasons – including to get food supplies, for exercise for up to two hours and no more than 5kms from your home, for care or caregiving, work or education if you can’t do it from home or to get vaccinated.
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The Premier said he understands it’s going to be extremely tough news for many, but admitted he has no other choice.
“We now have new cases, new exposure sites and a strain of this virus that is wildly infectious,” he said.
“You only get one chance to go hard and go fast. If you wait, if you hesitate, if you doubt, then you will always be looking back wishing you had done more earlier.
“I am not prepared to avoid a five-day lockdown now only to find ourselves in a five-week or a five-month lockdown.
“If we won‘t drive these numbers down, they will ultimately get away from us.
“That is why with a heavy heart but absolute necessity and determination to beat this, this Delta strain, just as we did a few weeks ago, that we lock Victoria down”.
Under the announcement, masks are now also mandatory both indoors and outdoors.
It’s the fifth lockdown for the state since the start of the pandemic and comes after the latest outbreak reached 18 infections on Thursday afternoon.
“If you were an authorised worker during the last lockdown, you’ll be an authorised worker this time around. Everyone else must work from home,” Premier Andrews said.
“We are counting on everyone to do the right thing.
“For our families, our businesses and our state – stay at home and keep everyone safe.”