Victoria's COVID lockdown extended for Melbourne, regional restrictions to ease

Lockdown extended for Melbourne, regional restrictions should ease

Victoria's seven-day circuit-breaker lockdown will not end at 11.59pm on Thursday as planned, however restrictions should ease in regional areas.

Acting Premier James Merlino, Health Minister Martin Foley and Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton are addressing the media.

The Victorian government has confirmed lockdown will be extended for at least seven days in metropolitan Melbourne.

Regional restrictions are "proposed to begin easing from 11.59pm tomorrow night. We'll use the next 24 hours to continue tracing and testing and confirm this change can go ahead."

It comes as dozens of new exposure sites from the NSW South Coast to Glenrowan, right back to the Melbourne CBD were recorded after a COVID-positive resident travelled along the Hume.

A number of exposure sites in Geelong and Anglesea have also been identified.

Regional restrictions

If restrictions are eased regionally, residents will be allowed to leave home for any reason and there will be no limit on the distance they can travel.

Acting Premier James Merlino said regional residents can travel to Melbourne for permitted reasons but must follow lockdown-restrictions when in the city.

Regionally, outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed.

Hospitality businesses can reopen for seated service for up to 50 people, subject to one per four square meter density.

Retail, beauty and tattooing services can reopen but masks must be worn.

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Fifty people can gather for religious ceremonies, 10 for weddings and 50 for funerals.

Junior outdoor sport will be permitted to resume, and adults can resume training outdoors.

Businesses in regional Victoria must check the ID of everyone they serve to verify they are not from Melbourne.

Mr Merlino said final announcements on regional restrictions will be announced tomorrow.

Even if all goes well in Melbourne, city residents will not be able to travel as usual to regional areas during the long weekend.

‚ÄčThe cases

On Tuesday night Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the Indian-variant strain of COVID was transmitting "faster than any other strain we've dealt with".

Health officials have identified about five cases where people contracted the infection through casual contact with strangers.

COVID Commander Jeroen Weimar said previously most transmissions in the country had occurred in workplaces, at large social events or in homes.

"What we're seeing now clearly is people who are... brushing past each other in a small shop, they're going around a display home, they're looking at phones in a Telstra shop," he said.

"They don't know each others' names and that's very different to what we've seen before."

This story Lockdown extended for Melbourne, regional restrictions should ease first appeared on The Border Mail.