VICTORIA’S current lockdown has been extended seven days.
The lockdown was due to last five days, ending at 11.59pm tonight, but Premier Daniel Andrews announced this morning it will continue until 11.59pm next Tuesday night.
Because of the current level of community transmission of coronavirus in Victoria from the recent New South Wales incursions, the current lockdown will be extended and travel to Victoria using red zone permits will be temporarily paused, to ensure stop of spread of the Delta COVID outbreak.
Victoria currently has 85 active cases of COVID-19, with daily cases in double figures, with more than 15,000 primary close contacts in quarantine, and more than 250 exposure sites online stretching from Phillip Island to the Mallee.
Mr Andrews said the rate of new infections meant movement needed to be limited for a longer period of time.
There will still be only five reasons to leave home: getting the food and the supplies, exercising for up to two hours, care or caregiving, work or education if it can’t be done from home, or to get vaccinated at the nearest possible location.
Shopping and exercise must be done within five kilometres of home or the nearest location.
Face masks will remain mandatory indoors (not at home) and outdoors unless an exception applies – this includes all workplaces, and secondary schools.
Minor changes will be made to the authorised premises and worker list to include services which operate solely outdoors where physical distancing can be maintained at all times, pet grooming mobile services and pamphlet delivery services. Further details can be found at coronavirus.vic.gov.au.
From tomorrow (Wednesday, July 21), more students with disability will be able to return to on-site learning. Where a parent or carer indicates a student with a disability cannot learn from home because of vulnerability or family stress, the school must provide on-site learning for that student.
This change will apply to students enrolled in specialist schools and students with a disability enrolled in mainstream schools.
Because of the “serious and persistent nature” of the risk in NSW, the issuing of red zone permits will be paused from 11.59pm tonight, with a further review in a fortnight.
For at least the next two weeks, Victorian residents in red zones will require an exemption to enter the state – and these will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.
If people enter Victoria from NSW without an exemption, they will be put on a return flight or placed in 14 days mandatory quarantine under the COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria program. Fines of $5452 may be imposed if a person is found to have entered Victoria from a red zone without a permit.
A person will still be able to enter Victoria from a red zone if they are aircrew, listed on the specified worker list, or transiting through Victoria to another jurisdiction (such as traveling from regional NSW through Mildura to get home to South Australia).
The CHO will continue to consider the status of the Australian Capital Territory, but the pause of red zone permits also applies to that jurisdiction while it is classified as a red zone.
“We cannot put Victoria’s hard-earned gains at risk by letting this Delta variant run free,” Mr Andrews said.
“We want Victoria back open as soon as possible – and we’ll do everything in our power to get us there safely and quickly.”
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said the Delta variant was more infectious and moving faster than seen in other outbreaks.
“We will not take the risk of opening up too soon – this extension of the current restrictions will help us contain this outbreak,” he said.